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An Accidental Discovery
About the time the OU was starting, and long before she became the OU’s first female Professor of Physics, Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a graduate student working in radio astronomy. Her research revealed a curious pulsing signal. Hear the story of how pulsars (pulsating radio stars) were accidentally discovered, and what we now know (and don’t know) about them.
About the speaker
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. 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’.