Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Bell Burnell in 2009
Susan Jocelyn Bell
15 July 1943
Lurgan, Northern Ireland
|Known for||Co-discovering the first four pulsars|
(m. 1968;div. 1993)
|Thesis||The Measurement of radio source diameters using a diffraction method (1968)|
|Doctoral advisor||Antony Hewish|
Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRSE FRAS FInstP ( // ; born 15 July 1943) is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who, as a postgraduate student, co-discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. She was credited with "one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th century". The discovery was recognised by the award of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, but despite the fact that she was the first to observe the pulsars, Bell was not one of the recipients of the prize.
Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.
Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland, judges to be "eminently distinguished in their subject". This society had, in itself received a royal charter in 1783, allowing for its expansion.
Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) is the style granted to members of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) on successful application.
The paper announcing the discovery of pulsars had five authors. Bell's thesis supervisor Antony Hewishwas listed first, Bell second. Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with the astronomer Martin Ryle. Many prominent astronomers criticised Bell's omission, including Sir Fred Hoyle. In 1977, Bell Burnell played down this controversy, saying, "I believe it would demean Nobel Prizes if they were awarded to research students, except in very exceptional cases, and I do not believe this is one of them." The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in its press release announcing the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, cited Ryle and Hewish for their pioneering work in radio-astrophysics, with particular mention of Ryle's work on aperture-synthesis technique, and Hewish's decisive role in the discovery of pulsars.
Antony Hewish is a British radio astronomer who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974 for his role in the discovery of pulsars. He was also awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1969.
Sir Martin Ryle was an English radio astronomer who developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources. In 1946 Ryle and Derek Vonberg were the first people to publish interferometric astronomical measurements at radio wavelengths. With improved equipment, Ryle observed the most distant known galaxies in the universe at that time. He was the first Professor of Radio Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, and founding director of the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory. He was Astronomer Royal from 1972 to 1982. Ryle and Antony Hewish shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974, the first Nobel prize awarded in recognition of astronomical research. In the 1970s, Ryle turned the greater part of his attention from astronomy to social and political issues which he considered to be more urgent.
Sir Fred Hoyle FRS was a British astronomer who formulated the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. He also held controversial stances on other scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang" theory, a term coined by him on BBC radio, and his promotion of panspermia as the origin of life on Earth. He also wrote science fiction novels, short stories and radio plays, and co-authored twelve books with his son, Geoffrey Hoyle.
Bell served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004, as president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and as interim president of the Institute following the death of her successor, Marshall Stoneham, in early 2011.
The President of the Royal Astronomical Society chairs the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and its formal meetings. They also liaise with government organisations, similar societies in other countries, and the International Astronomical Union on behalf of the UK astronomy and geophysics communities. Future presidents serve one year as President Elect before succeeding the previous president.
The Institute of Physics (IOP) is a scientific charity that works to advance physics education, research and application. It was founded in 1874 and has a worldwide membership of over 50,000. The IOP supports physics in education, research and industry. In addition to this, the IOP provides services to its members including careers advice and professional development and grants the professional qualification of Chartered Physicist (CPhys), as well as Chartered Engineer (CEng) as a nominated body of the Engineering Council. The IOP's publishing company, IOP Publishing, publishes more than 70 academic journals and magazines.
Arthur Marshall Stoneham, FRS, known as Marshall Stoneham, was a British physicist who worked for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, and from 1995 was Massey professor of physics at University College London.
In 2018, she was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. She donated the whole of the £2.3 million prize money to help female, minority, and refugee students become physics researchers.
Jocelyn Bell was born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, to M. Allison and G. Philip Bell.Her father was an architect who had helped design the Armagh Planetarium, and during visits she was encouraged by the staff to pursue astronomy professionally. Young Jocelyn also discovered her father's books on astronomy.
Lurgan is a town in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The town is near the southern shore of Lough Neagh and is in the north-eastern corner of County Armagh. Lurgan is about 18 miles (29 km) south-west of Belfast and is linked to the city by both the M1 motorway and the Belfast–Dublin railway line. It had a population of about 23,000 at the 2001 Census. It is within the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon district.
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".
Armagh Planetarium is a planetarium located in Armagh, Northern Ireland close to the city centre and neighbouring Armagh Observatory in approximately fourteen acres of landscaped grounds known as the Armagh Astropark.
She grew up in Lurgan and attended the Preparatory Departmentof Lurgan College from 1948 to 1956, where she, like the other girls, was not permitted to study science until her parents (and others) protested against the school's policy. Previously, the girls' curriculum had included such subjects as cooking and cross-stitching rather than science.
Lurgan College is a Christian, co-educational , 14–19 age selective grammar school situated in the town of Lurgan, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
She failed the eleven-plus exam and her parents sent her to The Mount School,a Quaker girls' boarding school in York, England. There she was favourably impressed by her physics teacher, Mr Tillott, and stated:
You do not have to learn lots and lots ... of facts; you just learn a few key things, and ... then you can apply and build and develop from those ... He was a really good teacher and showed me, actually, how easy physics was.
Bell Burnell was the subject of the first part of the BBC Four three-part series Beautiful Minds , directed by Jacqui Farnham.
She graduated from the University of Glasgow with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Philosophy (physics), with honours, in 1965 and obtained a PhD degree from the University of Cambridge in 1969. At Cambridge, she attended New Hall, Cambridge, and worked with Hewish and others to constructthe Interplanetary Scintillation Array to study quasars, which had recently been discovered.
In July 1967, she detected a bit of "scruff" on her chart-recorder papers that tracked across the sky with the stars.She established that the signal was pulsing with great regularity, at a rate of about one pulse every one and a third seconds. Temporarily dubbed "Little Green Man 1" (LGM-1) the source (now known as PSR B1919+21) was identified after several years as a rapidly rotating neutron star. This was later documented by the BBC Horizon series.
She worked at the University of Southampton between 1968 and 1973, University College London from 1974 to 82 and the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh (1982–91). From 1973 to 1987 she was a tutor, consultant, examiner, and lecturer for the Open University.In 1986, she became the project manager for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. She was Professor of Physics at the Open University from 1991 to 2001. She was also a visiting professor at Princeton University in the United States and Dean of Science at the University of Bath (2001–04), and President of the Royal Astronomical Society between 2002 and 2004.
Bell Burnell is currently Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Mansfield College.She was President of the Institute of Physics between 2008 and 2010. In February 2018 she was appointed Chancellor of the University of Dundee. In 2018, Bell Burnell visited Parkes, NSW, to deliver the keynote John Bolton lecture at the CWAS AstroFest event.
In 2018, she was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, worth three million dollars (£2.3 million), for her discovery of radio pulsars. The Special Prize, in contrast to the regular annual prize, is not restricted to recent discoveries. She donated all of the money "to fund women, under-represented ethnic minority and refugee students to become physics researchers", the funds to be administered by the Institute of Physics.
That Bell did not receive recognition in the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics has been a point of controversy ever since. She helped build the Interplanetary Scintillation Array over two years 96 feet (29 m) of paper data per night. Bell later claimed that she had to be persistent in reporting the anomaly in the face of scepticism from Hewish, who was initially insistent that it was due to interference and man-made. She spoke of meetings held by Hewish and Ryle to which she was not invited. In 1977, she commented on the issue:and initially noticed the anomaly, sometimes reviewing as much as
First, demarcation disputes between supervisor and student are always difficult, probably impossible to resolve. Secondly, it is the supervisor who has the final responsibility for the success or failure of the project. We hear of cases where a supervisor blames his student for a failure, but we know that it is largely the fault of the supervisor. It seems only fair to me that he should benefit from the successes, too. Thirdly, I believe it would demean Nobel Prizes if they were awarded to research students, except in very exceptional cases, and I do not believe this is one of them. Finally, I am not myself upset about it – after all, I am in good company, am I not!
Bell Burnell is house patron of Burnell House at Cambridge House Grammar School in Ballymena. She has campaigned to improve the status and number of women in professional and academic posts in the fields of physics and astronomy.
From her school days, she has been an active Quaker and served as Clerk to the sessions of Britain Yearly Meeting in 1995, 1996 and 1997. She delivered a Swarthmore Lecture under the title Broken for Life, [ citation needed ] She spoke of her personal religious history and beliefs in an interview with Joan Bakewell in 2006.at Yearly Meeting in Aberdeen on 1 August 1989, and was the plenary speaker at the US Friends General Conference Gathering in 2000.
Bell Burnell served on the Quaker Peace and Social Witness Testimonies Committee, which produced Engaging with the Quaker Testimonies: a Toolkit in February 2007.In 2013 she gave a James Backhouse Lecture which was published in a book entitled A Quaker Astronomer Reflects: Can a Scientist Also Be Religious?, in which Burnell reflects about how cosmological knowledge can be related to what the Bible, Quakerism or Christian faith states.
In 1968, soon after her discovery, Bell married Martin Burnell; the couple divorced in 1993 after separating in 1989. Her husband was a local government officer, and his career took them to various parts of Britain. She worked part-time for many years while raising her son, Gavin Burnell, who is a member of the condensed matter physics group at the University of Leeds.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell, researcher on the staff of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory of University College London, is the recipient of the 1978 J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize.
A Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics can be awarded by the Selection Committee at any time, and in addition to the regular Breakthrough Prize awarded through the ordinary annual nomination process. Unlike the annual Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the Special Prize is not limited to recent discoveries.
| Chancellor of the University of Dundee |
Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr. is an American astrophysicist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery with Russell Alan Hulse of a "new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation."
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PSR B1919+21 is a pulsar with a period of 1.3373 seconds and a pulse width of 0.04 seconds. Discovered by Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish on November 28, 1967, it is the first discovered radio pulsar. The power and regularity of the signals were briefly thought to resemble an extraterrestrial beacon, leading the source to be nicknamed LGM-1.
A pulsar is a highly magnetized rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can be observed only when the beam of emission is pointing toward Earth, and is responsible for the pulsed appearance of emission. Neutron stars are very dense, and have short, regular rotational periods. This produces a very precise interval between pulses that ranges from milliseconds to seconds for an individual pulsar. Pulsars are believed to be one of the candidates for the source of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays.
The Cavendish Astrophysics Group is based at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. The group operates all of the telescopes at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory except for the 32m MERLIN telescope, which is operated by Jodrell Bank.
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Sir Konstantin Sergeevich Novoselov is a Russian physicist, and Langworthy Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester with Russian and British citizenship. His work on graphene with Andre Geim earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010.
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