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March 19, 2008: Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Radio astronomy research began in the 1950s, but was limited until Cambridge University astronomers developed a suitable type of radio telescope. Under the supervision of her doctoral advisor, Anthony Hewish, Ph.D., Burnell was involved in the construction of the telescope and was responsible for the monitoring and interpreting of the transmission recordings. Burnell was born in Northern Ireland and graduated in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Glasgow, followed by a Ph.D. in radio astronomy from the University of Cambridge in 1969.

She is an enthusiastic communicator of science and a role model for women in science. She has taught and conducted research at the University of Southampton and the University College London and the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. She was dean of science at the University of Bath and taught physics at the Open University (England). She also spent a year as a distinguished visiting professor at Princeton University. She currently holds a visiting professorship in astrophysics at the University of Oxford and is a fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford.

Public Affairs article: British astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell reflects on the process of scientific discovery and being a pioneer