July 15 – LGM1

Little facts about science

Today’s factismal: The Nobel prize for pulsars didn’t go to their discoverer; instead, it went to her adviser.

Jocelyn Burnell (née Bell) was born 73 years ago. She showed an early interest in astronomy and math, and ended up going to the University of Cambridge to get her PhD. It was there that she made a discovery that would change our view of the universe and give her adviser a Nobel prize.

The most famous non-winner of a Nobel Prize (Image courtesy NASA) The most famous non-winner of a Nobel Prize
(Image courtesy NASA)

Her work at Cambridge focused on the new field of radio astronomy. You see, astronomers study stars using light. But stars give out different types of light at wavelengths that we can’t see (like radio waves, gamma rays, and microwaves) and that means that we have to have special instruments to capture the light and turn it into data that we can see. And one of…

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