Career News

Jocelyn Bell Burnell Next Royal Society of Edinburgh President

3.9.2014 | 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.
Prof. Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Bild vergrößern
Prof. Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Dame Jocelyn is best known for discovering pulsars, one of the most significant scientific achievements of the twentieth century. These rapidly spinning neutron stars are formed in supernova explosions. At the time Dame Jocelyn was a PhD student in radio astronomy at the University of Cambridge. Her supervisor Antony Hewish subsequently went on to win the 1974 Nobel Prize for Physics in recognition of the discovery, sharing it with Martin Ryle. She has been an influential campaigner in efforts to raise the number of women in professional and academic science posts. In 2013, Dame Jocelyn was named in the BBC Radio 4 'power list' of the 100 most influential women in the UK. In 2012, she chaired the group that produced the RSE's highly-regarded Tapping All Our Talents report on a Scottish strategy for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Dame Jocelyn will begin her three year tenure as RSE President in October 2014. She takes over from Sir John Arbuthnott, whose period in office has, amongst several achievements, seen the delivery of the landmark 'Enlightening the Constitutional Debate' series of events, and the development of research links with China including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the RSE and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Commenting on the election, Sir John said, "I am delighted to welcome Dame Jocelyn as my successor. Her scientific standing, her public profile and her great breadth of experience will greatly benefit the Royal Society of Edinburgh."

Born in Northern Ireland, Dame Jocelyn graduated in Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow in 1965, then gained her PhD from Cambridge in 1969. From 1982-1991, she worked at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. She was then appointed professor of physics at the Open University and later became Dean of Science at the University of Bath (2001-04). Dame Jocelyn was President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002-2004, and President of the Institute of Physics from 2008-2011. She is currently visiting professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford with research interests in neutron stars, micro quasars and gamma ray bursts.

Dame Jocelyn has more than 20 honorary degrees, including one from Harvard and five from Scottish Universities. With receiving a DBE in 2007 - 'Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire' - she became a member of the order and thus a member of the British nobility. Dame Jocelyn said, "I look forward to serving the Royal Society of Edinburgh as its president from October this year. This will be an important time for Scotland as it finds its way forward following the referendum."   (© University of Oxford, AcademiaNet)

More information

Additional articles on this topic

Testimonials

  1. Read what our members say about AcademiaNet.

Follow us

No more excuses!

  1. Please download the brochure "No more excuses" and read more about female experts in Europe, and about AcademiaNet.

News

  1. Françoise Combes awarded the 2020 CNRS Gold Medal

    The expert in galaxy evolution is honoured with the highest research award in France.

  2. On the significance of cortisol: Insights from Prof. Nina Henriette Uhlenhaut

    The numbers of Covid-19 cases are increasing worldwide. But in comparison to the beginning of the pandemic we are not completely clueless anymore—first treatment options for some of the most severely ill have emerged and surprisingly one of the drug candidates is an old friend: steroids in the form of Dexamethasone. We spoke with Professor Nina Henriette Uhlenhaut from the Technical University Munich and the Helmholtz Center in Munich, Germany, who researches what these steroids do in the body and why they have so many side-effects.

  3. Riitta Hari receives Finnish Academy of Sciences Honorary Prize

    The physician and brain researcher was recognised for her life’s work.

  4. Five AcademiaNet members achieve lifetime EMBO Membership

    Chosen for their outstanding achievements in the life sciences, the women join the likes of Nobel Prize winners, Dorothy Hodgkin and Ada Yonath.

  5. Archaeology has to change: Prof. Natascha Mehler and the Hanseatic League

    When thinking of the Hanseatic League what comes to mind usually are the iconic buildings in the Hanseatic cities in Germany and along the Baltic Sea. But only few people know that the Hanseatic League also went to a different region: the North Atlantic and the Northern islands. Prof. Natascha Mehler from the University of Tuebingen focuses on this rather unique aspect of the Hanseatic League in her research. We spoke with her about her newest project and the situation of women in academic archaeology.