The Discovery of Pulsars

With Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell inadvertently discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy in Cambridge, opening up a new branch of astrophysics – work recognised by the award of a Nobel Prize to her supervisor. This talk will describe how pulsars (pulsating radio stars) came to be discovered and introduce some of the bizarre properties of these extreme objects.

Discover of Pulsars CREDIT RSE 300x300
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Credit RSE

Jocelyn Bell Burnell inadvertently discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy in Cambridge, opening up a new branch of astrophysics – work recognised by the award of a Nobel Prize to her supervisor.

She has subsequently worked in many roles in many branches of astronomy, working part-time while raising a family. She is now a Visiting Professor in Oxford, and Chancellor of the University of Dundee, and was (the first female) President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh – Scotland’s National Academy.

Much in demand as a speaker and broadcaster, in her spare time she gardens, listens to choral music and is active in the Quakers. She has co-edited an anthology of poetry with an astronomical theme – Dark Matter; Poems of Space.

Dame Bell Burnell has recently been awarded a Breakthrough Prize for the discovery of radio pulsars, and will use the £2.3m prize to create a fund to further the work of women, under-represented ethnic minority and refugee students in physics.

Talk introduced by Dr Robert Ferdman, Lecturer in Physics at UEA.

Image credits: RSE; ESA XMM-Newton L. Oskinova M. Guerrero CTIO R. Gruendl Y.H. Chu

Friday 19 October
11am–12pm
Venue: The Forum, Auditorium
Cost: £6
Age: 12+