Jocelyn Bell Burnell
(21 November 2007)
The Department was delighted that Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was able to return to Durham on Wednesday 14 November to deliver a public lecture In Pursuit of Pulsars as part of the University’s 175th Anniversary celebrations. Earlier in the year, in June, the University had awarded Dame Jocelyn an honorary Doctor of Science degree at a special 175th Anniversary Congregation in Durham Cathedral. Jocelyn is currently Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University, a Fellow of Mansfield College and President-elect of the Institute of Physics. Her career highlights include 10 years as Professor of Physics at the Open University, management of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, and two years as President of the Royal Astronomical Society. Also, throughout her life, she has worked tirelessly to encourage more women to consider a career in science. However, Jocelyn is probably best known for her involvement as a young postgraduate student in the discovery of pulsars almost exactly 40 years ago – one of the most significant advances in astronomy during the last century, opening up a whole new branch of astrophysics. Her outstanding achievements have been recognized by the award of a CBE in 1999, election to Fellowship of the Royal Society in 2003, and being made a Dame in June 2007.