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Jocelyn Bell Burnell

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Jocelyn Bell Burnell

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Dame (Susan) Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRAS
(born 15 July 1943)
is a British astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student, she discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish, for which Hewish shared the Nobel Prize in Physics. She was president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and was interim president following the death of her successor, Marshall Stoneham, in early 2011. She was succeeded in October 2011 by Sir Peter Knight.

The paper announcing the discovery had five authors. Hewish's name was listed first, Bell's second. Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with Martin Ryle, without the inclusion of Bell as a co-recipient, which stoked controversy and was roundly condemned by Hewish's fellow astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in their 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. Dr. Iosif Shklovsky, recipient of the 1972 Bruce Medal, had sought out Bell at the 1970 International Astronomical Union's General Assembly, to tell her: "Miss Bell, you have made the greatest astronomical discovery of the twentieth century."

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