British astrophysicist and Oxford University visiting professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell is set to talk about her extraordinary career in a live webcast on Thursday, October 25, at 7pm US eastern time (10am Friday, October 26, on east coast Australia).
Burnell is best known for her leading role in 1967 in the discovery of pulsars – a breakthrough widely considered one of the most important scientific advances of the twentieth century.
The achievement led in 1974 to the awarding of a Nobel Prize – not to her, but to her graduate advisor, a scandal still noted, and still uncorrected, today.
Her subsequent career, however, has been every bit as stellar as her early days, and this year she has been awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, not only for her work on pulsars but also for a lifetime spent inspiring others.
The prize is worth $US3 million – a haul she plans to donate entirely to programs aimed at fostering young scientists.
She will officially receive the award at a glittering ceremony to be held on November 4 at the NASA Ames Research Centre in Silicon Valley, US, hosted by actor Pierce Brosnan.
Before that, however, she will deliver a live talk at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, in Canada, webcast for people in other parts of the world. The title of her talk is: “What is that?!” The Discovery of Pulsars: A Grad Student’s Story.