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Antony Hewish (born Fowey, Cornwall, May 11, 1924) is a British radio astronomer who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974 (together with fellow radio-astronomer Martin Ryle) for his role in the discovery of pulsars. He was also awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1969.

His undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge was interrupted by war service at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, and at the Telecommunications Research Establishment where he worked with Martin Ryle. Returning to Cambridge in 1946, Hewish completed his degree and immediately joined Ryle's research team at the Cavendish Laboratory, obtaining his Ph.D. in 1952. Hewish made both practical and theoretical advances in the observation and exploitation of the apparent scintillations of radio sources due to their radiation impinging upon plasma.

This led him to propose, and secure funding for, the construction of the Interplanetary Scintillation Array, a large array radio telescope at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO), Cambridge in order to conduct a high time-resolution radio survey of interstellar scintillation. In the course of this project, one of his graduate students, Jocelyn Bell, first noticed the radio source which was ultimately recognised as the first pulsar.

The paper announcing the discovery had five authors, Hewish's name being listed first, Bell's second. The Nobel award to Ryle and Hewish without the inclusion of Bell as a co-recipient was controversial, and was roundly condemned by Hewish's fellow astronomer Fred Hoyle. Others however have noted that the prize was given to Ryle and Hewish for their work across the field of radio-astronomy as a whole, with particular mention of Ryle's work on aperture-synthesis, and Hewish's on pulsars.

Hewish was professor of radio astronomy at the Cavendish Laboratory from 1971 to 1989, and head of the MRAO from 1982 to 1988. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1968, and he and Martin Ryle were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974.

Hewish is a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge.


Antony Hewish

their pioneering research in radio astrophysics Ryle for his observations

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