Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS, University of Oxford
21st December 2012 marks an ending of the Mayan calendar and is asserted by some to mark the end of the world. This scare is examined from an astronomical point of view, followed by some reflections on what the scare tells us about the communication of science.
Professor Bell Burnell was awarded the Michael Faraday Prize Lecture in 2010.
Now a Visiting Professor at Oxford University, Professor Bell Burnell has been Dean of Science at the University of Bath and for ten years Professor of Physics at The Open University, with a year as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Princeton University, USA. A Physics degree at Glasgow University, was followed by a PhD at Cambridge in radio astronomy. During her time there she was involved in the discovery of pulsars.
In 2008 she became the first female President of the Institute of Physics. She is a fellow of the Royal Society and a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Science, and has received numerous awards from learned bodies and universities in the UK and the USA. Professor Bell Burnell sees public engagement with science as important, and by being visible she hopes to encourage more women into science.
Image above courtesy of Lukiyanova Natalia/frenta.