Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
With the discovery of pulsars over 50 years ago, Jocelyn Bell Burnell paved the way for a new branch of astronomy. Fast-rotating neutron stars are the most compact bodies in the universe; their diameter is about the same as the city of Munich, but they contain the mass of the Sun.
Bell Burnell made the discovery with her doctoral advisor Antony Hewish and radio astronomer Martin Ryle. Seven years later, both men were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for it - but she was not.
Despite her apparent omission and the controversy surrounding it, she continued her inspiring scientific work, was elevated to personal peerage by Queen Elizabeth II as president of the UK's Royal Astronomical Society in 2007, became the first female president of the Institute of Physics for Britain and Ireland in 2008, and the first female president of the Royal Societyof Edinburgh in 2014.
In 2018, her discovery and life's work were recognised with the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
She donated the prize money of 3 million euros to provide study scholarships for women and ethnic minorities who are still underrepresented in physics.
Geist Heidelberg salutes Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, an internationally distinguished astrophysicist who has worked tirelessly to promote understanding and public appreciation of science and to confront the biases still prevalent in the world of research.
In the context of the International Science Festival - Geist Heidelberg.
The Pulse of Space
A woman reaching for the stars
Geist Heidelberg Lecture
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