Dublin event to pay tribute to astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell

12 Jun 2013

Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell speaks at PhysCon 2012

Imagine being a post-graduate student and discovering something like the first radio pulsars. That’s exactly what happened to astrophysicist and professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who will be honoured in Dublin on 20 June for her contribution to scientific discovery.

Bell Burnell, a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis supervisor Anthony Hewish while at Cambridge University. Their work earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Bell Burnell went on to have a career as a radio astronomer and has been awarded many accolades. She served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004, president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and has been interim president following the death of her successor, Marshall Stoneham, in early 2011. Sir Peter Knight succeeded Bell Burnell in October 2011.

More recently, Bell Burnell has been elected pro-chancellor of Trinity College Dublin.

The work she carried out last year, however, as chair of an expert group in Scotland to increase the proportion of STEM qualified women in the workplace and to increase the number of women in senior positions in universities, government and industry, will be a topic of discussion at the 20 June event.

Also to take place at the mid-day event is the presentation of a painting to Bell Burnell, by artist Marguerita Cimedevila, from her series Ciencia EX AEQUO. Cimedevila’s work pays tribute to women who have overcome professional challenges and made significant scientific discoveries.

The event will also feature an interview with Bell Burnell, conducted by science journalist and regular contributor to Siliconrepublic.com Dr Claire O’Connell.

To book a place at this event, please email info@witsireland.com.

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic