Pioneering astrophysicist delivers Christmas lecture



L-R: Prof. Steve McLaughlin, Head of School, Dame Bell Burnell, Prof. Patrik Öhberg, Director of PGR & Dr Fabio Biancalana.

A celebrated astrophysicist who made one of the most important findings in astronomy has delivered a special Christmas Lecture at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Campus. 

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is best known for her discovery of pulsars in 1967, which are 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.

It was this landmark achievement that Dame Bell Burnell recently spoke of at the annual School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) PGR Christmas Lecture. 

A large audience of scientists were told of the difficulties, anxieties and thrills she experienced at this iconic time for space exploration. 
Dame Bell Burnell is currently the President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 2013 was assessed by the BBC as one of the most powerful women in the United Kingdom.