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Did Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell Win A Nobel Peace Prize?

Everyone who works in the realm of science or literature aims to get recognized for their hard work. Often this comes in the form of grants and awards. The most coveted award is the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee in charge often keeps their eye on prime candidates.  This brings us to the story of Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Her work was involved in the awarding of the prize, but unfortunately, she was not. This brings us to the question: did she win a Nobel prize? 

Dame Burnell didn’t receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Although she was the most critical scientist to contribute to the determination and finding of Pulsars in space, the award was instead given to her colleague, Martin Ryle, for reasons unknown.

Who is Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell?

Jocelyn Bernell is a British astronomer of Ireland descent. She is well-known for her works in finding Pulsars. Burnell is a graduate of the University of Glasgow, where she completed a  bachelor’s degree in physics. She continued her doctorate at the University of Cambridge. (Source: Britannica)

What are Pulsars?

Pulsars are magnetized compact stars that emit beams. Pulsars are fractions of materials leftover by an explosive death of a star. Otherwise known as a Supernova.

Pulsars are neutron stars that look like a flickering light. – It blinks on and off constantly. This phenomenon is possible because pulsars radiate two steady and narrow beams which are constantly spinning. This gives off the flickering light. They are detected when a beam hits the earth during its rotation. Radio telescopes can see that and pass it off as a pulse of radio waves.

Upon careful observation and timing of the pulses, scientists can conduct distinctive experiments that are most of the time for the better of modern physics. (Source: Astronomy)

Why Burnell Didn’t Win the Nobel Peace Prize?

The specifics aren’t clear as to why Dame wasn’t one of the recipients of the prize. After all, it was her study, and she is the head scientist responsible for discovering the cosmic phenomenon. However, some claim that misogyny was at play, while others believe that some shady dealings amongst the committee caused her not to receive the award; instead, another astronomer named Martin Ryle was given the award.

It does occasionally so it is not a complete taboo but it’s not common. Inevitably, the senior males are much more visible than a female graduate student so you can understand what was happening. My colleagues, I think, were a bit more upset than I was. They labelled it the no-belle prize.

Dame Joceyln Bell Burnell

Even though she couldn’t grab herself the Nobel Peace Prize, she was instead able to be awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize. This was accompanied by $3 million. This award was given to her by careful consideration of a panel consisting of leading scientists.

If you get a Nobel prize you have this fantastic week and then nobody gives you anything else. If you don’t get a Nobel prize you get everything that moves. Almost every year there’s been some sort of party because I’ve got another award. That’s much more fun.

Dame Joceyln Bell Burnell

(Source: The Guardian)

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