Astronomer Sir Martin Ryle was born on September 27, 1918 in Brighton, England. He studied at Branfield College and received his degree in physics from the University of Oxford in 1939. During World War II he helped to develop radar and other radio systems for the Royal Air Force.
After the war, Ryle joined the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England. Early on, he concentrated on working with radio waves emitted from the Sun. His interests soon shifted, and he became a crucial force in both the creation and development of aperture synthesis and astronomical interferometry. Both of these technologies greatly improved the quality of astronomical data. In 1948, Ryle began a Lectureship in Physics at Cambridge University, and one year later, became a Fellow at Trinity College. He was appointed as the Chair of Radio Astronomy at Cambridge in 1959.
Numerous organizations recognized and awarded Ryle for his pioneering research throughout his career. He was the recipient of the 1954 Hughes Medal (Royal Society of London), the 1965 Henry Draper Medal (U.S. Academy of Sciences), and the 1971 IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award, among many others. In 1972 he was appointed as the Astronomer Royal, and in 1974, was the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Ryle died on October 14, 1984.