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Jocelyn Bell Burnell

After failing the eleven-plus exam, Bell Burnell was sent to a boarding school and credited her physics teacher for sparking her scientific curiosity and getting her to finish her education. She graduated from the University of Glasgow with honors and obtained her PhD four years later. During her graduate studies, she noticed an anomaly that was later revealed to be the first discovered “pulsar” but did not receive credit for it in the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to her team, even though she was instrumental in the discovery and even had to convince her superior, the actual recipient of the prize, of its importance. She later established the Bell burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund, to help female and minority students with the finances of university work.

Bell Burnell’s father was an architect, who was one of the designers for the Armagh Planetarium - he encouraged her to pursue a career in astronomy. Later, when she attended a prep course through Lurgan College, a place with policies that restricted women from studying science, her parents (and others) challenged those policies and enabled her to study what she wanted to.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell
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