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Fellows Directory

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS


Elected: 2003


Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE is an astrophysicist. She was responsible for the discovery of pulsars while a radio astronomy graduate student in Cambridge and has subsequently worked in gamma ray, X-ray, infrared and millimetre wavelength astronomy. She currently holds a Professorial Fellowship in Mansfield College, University of Oxford, and is a Visiting Academic in the University's Department of Physics.

She was awarded the Michael Faraday Prize (2010) and a Royal Medal (2015) by the Royal Society and also holds major awards from French, Spanish and USA bodies. A member of 7 Academies worldwide, she was the first female President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (as well as of the Institute of Physics).

She is currently Chancellor of the University of Dundee and was previously a Pro Vice Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin. She holds numerous Honorary Doctorates.

Professional positions

Visiting Professor of Astrophysics, Department of Astrophysics, University of Oxford
Pro Chancellor, Trinity College Dublin
President, Royal Society of Edinburgh

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics
    • Astrophysics
  • Other
    • Public understanding of science, Other interests, Science education at secondary level


  • Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture

    On 'The end of the world in 2012? Science communication and science scares'.

  • Royal Medals

    For her pivotal contribution in observing, analysing & understanding pulsars, one of the most important astronomical discoveries of the 20th century.

  • Copley Medal

    For her work on the discovery of pulsars, one of the major astronomical discoveries of the 20th century.

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