Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who will present the Mary Mulvihill Award in May 2018, is one of the most prominent women in science in Britain and Ireland over the past quarter-century. Born in Northern Ireland, she read Physics at Glasgow University, and during her PhD studies in Cambridge was the first to identify a type of star known as pulsars; her supervisor was one of two people awarded the Nobel Prize in 1974 for this discovery.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell


Jocelyn Bell Burnell was Professor of Physics at the Open University for ten years and has held Visiting Professor roles in Princeton and Oxford universities. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Oppenheimer prize, Michelson medal and the Tinsley prize in the US and the Herschel medal and the Royal medal (from the Royal Society) in the UK. She is currently Pro-Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin and has been awarded over 30 honorary doctorates, including from TCD, Queen’s University and DCU.

A long-time practitioner of public communication of science and champion for women in science she has been President of the Royal Astronomical Society, in 2008 became the first female President of the Institute of Physics and in 2014 the first female President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2010 the Royal Society awarded her its Faraday Medal for science communication.

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