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The Papers of Sir Martin Ryle

Reference Code: GBR/0014/RYLE

Scope and Contents

The scientific papers and correspondence relate to Ryle's work both as an individual and his international interests. The material includes: papers on Ryle's wartime work for the Telecommunications Research Establishment; material from the Radio Astronomy Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, particularly on the development of Cambridge Radio Observatories; research notes and papers; papers relating to Ryle's anti-nuclear activism and interest in alternative forms of energy; publications and lectures; correspondence; charts, photographs, press cuttings and other published papers.


  • Creation: 1924 - 1998

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Martin Ryle was born 27 September 1918. In 1947 he married Ella Rowena Palmer and they had one son and two daughters. He began working at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE), 1939-45, where radar was being developed and then took up an ICI Fellowship at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, 1945-48. His positions at Cambridge University included University Lecturer in Physics (1948-58), Reader (1958-59), Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (1949), Professor of Radio Astronomy (1959-82), then Emeritus. He was Director at the Mullard Radio-Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge, 1957-82 and was Astronomer Royal, 1972-82. He received a number of honours and awards including being knighted in 1966 and being awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics (jointly with Professor Anthony Hewish) in 1974. Sir Martin Ryle died 14 October 1984.


125 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London. A further detailed catalogue to the whole collection is available at Churchill Archives Centre.

Former/other reference

NCUACS 176.7.09 (National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited in various accessions between 1986 and 2017. All of the deposits were made by Lady Ryle except for the last four which were made by Professor J. E. Baldwin, Professor Richard Hills and other members of the Ryle family.


This collection (fonds) level description was prepared in April 2004 by Louise King at Churchill Archives Centre. Information was obtained from Ryle's entry in "Who Was Who" (A&C Black). The entire archive was then arranged and catalogued by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists in 2009.


Ryle, Sir Martin, 1918-1984, Professor of Radio Astronomy

2004-04-20 09:37:28+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087