Short CV/Education and training

  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist, best known for her discovery of pulsars — rotating neutron stars that appear to ‘pulse’ since the beam of light they emit can only be seen when it faces the Earth. Her observation, made together with her supervisor, Antony Hewish, is considered to be one of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the twentieth century.

  • In 1967, Jocelyn made her discovery using a telescope that she and Antony had originally built to study the recently detected star-like quasars. She noted a signal that pulsed once every second — ‘Little Green Man 1’ — that was later determined to be a pulsar. Antony went on to receive the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics for his role in the discovery.

  • Jocelyn has since become a role model for young students and female scientists throughout the world. She was appointed to CBE for services to astronomy in 1999, followed by a DBE in 2007.

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Fellow Royal Society

  • Fellow Royal Society of Edinburgh

  • Foreign Associate US National Academy of Sciences

  • Hon Member Royal Irish Academy

  • Hon Fellow Institute of Physics

  • Fellow Royal Astronomical Society

  • Member American Astronomical Association

  • Member International Astronomical Union

Media coverage

  • Her story was featured in the BBC Four’s Beautiful Minds, and BBC Two’s Horizon documented her discovery of ‘Little Green Man 1’.

Soft Skills/Other activities and achievements

Soft Skills

  • Much in demand as speaker and broadcaster.


Other activities and achievements/family


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News

  1. Pulsar discoverer Jocelyn Bell Burnell wins $3-million Breakthrough Prize

    AcademiaNet member plans to spend prize money — awarded 50 years after the discovery — on increasing diversity in science. A portrait by Nature

  2. First Scottish AcademiaNet meeting brings together leading female scientists in Scotland

    AcademiaNet scientists were invited to attend the event at the Royal Society of Edinburgh to discuss gender balance in science as well as the impact of Brexit on British research.

  3. Jocelyn Bell Burnell Next Royal Society of Edinburgh President

    Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has been elected as the next president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). She is an outstanding astrophysicist as well as a prominent science communicator. Her term will start this October, right after the Scottish independence referendum in September.