Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, PhD

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, PhD

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, PhD, is a Northern Irish astrophysicist who, as a postgraduate student, discovered the first radio pulsars. While at Cambridge she was responsible for analyzing the data produced by the radio telescope used to track quasars. After several weeks, Bell noticed unusual markings on the chart paper that were too fast and regular to be a quasar. She had detected the first evidence of a pulsar. Despite this, her advisor Antony Hewish and astronomer Martin Ryle won the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1974. In 2014, she became the first woman to be president on the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She is also the first woman to win the Herschel Medal, awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society, for “investigations of outstanding merit in observational astrophysics.” In 2018, she was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, worth three million dollars, for her discovery of radio pulsars. She donated the entire sum to the Institute of Physics to fund women, under-represented ethnic minority and refugee students to become physics researchers.

Read more at Wikipedia.

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