Updated: November 30 2020 11:48:27 AM
Last Saturday, the Royal Society revealed a new portrait of the astrophysicist Mrs. Des Jocelyn Bell Bernell, who discovered the pulsar when she was studying for a PhD at Cambridge University.
This portrait is an oil painting, created by artist Stephen Shankland, and it has been 53 years since Burnell’s discovery. The painting was commissioned by the Royal Society and is part of an ongoing project that aims to increase the number of female scientists represented in the art collections of its researchers and the president.
Who is Mrs. Jocelyn Bell Burnell?
Burnell was born in Northern Ireland in 1943. After failing children over 11, she went to a boarding school in York, where she was passionate about physics. She received her doctorate in radio astronomy from Cambridge University in 1969, and since then she has held various academic positions around the world. She served as President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004, and was the first woman to serve as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 2014 to 2018.
Today, the Royal Society proudly unveiled a new portrait of the pioneering astrophysicist Mrs. Des Jocelyn Bell Bernell. This is the 53rd anniversary of her discovery of the pulsar, who is only 24 years old. The portrait was created by the artist Stephen Shankland (Stephen Shankland). https://t.co/VrFrTNxHk5
Image © Stephen Shankland. pic.twitter.com/lOn5RL6LMF
-The Royal Society (@royalsociety) November 28, 2020
Bernell discovered pulsars on November 28, 1967. These pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars, which emit radio frequency pulses. Neutron stars are the result of supernova explosions, which are when the star reaches the end of its life and dies.
This discovery was recognized by the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974. Two professors Anthony Sieves (Bernell’s supervisor) and Martin Lyell shared this discovery together. At the time, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that Hewish was awarded half of the bonus, “because he played a decisive role in the discovery of pulsars.”
In order to imply that Bernell should have won the Nobel Prize, she wrote in an article in 1977 that the article was published in the “Annual Book of the New York Academy of Sciences”. A speech after dinner at the meeting, “Unless there are special circumstances, I believe that if the Nobel Prize is awarded to research students, it will be inferior to the Nobel Prize. I don’t think this is one of them.”
This picture records the exact moment when Bernell discovered the pulsar. The picture made its debut on International Women’s Day in 2019, marking the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (CPS). 📣Express Explained is now on Telegram
How were pulsars discovered?
Bernell was a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge at the time and worked with her mentor Hewish to make radio observations of the universe. Finally, she discovered a pulsar using a 4.5-acre large radio telescope designed by Hewish, and joined him and a team of five when the telescope was about to begin construction. Telescopes are used to measure the random brightness flashes of different types of quasars.
The telescope took more than two years, and the team began operation in July 1967. According to Burnell, she is solely responsible for operating the telescope and analyzing its data output. The daily data volume is 96 feet of sea drawings. Manual analysis.
In a 1977 article titled “Dwarfs, White Dwarfs or Pulsars?” Bernell wrote that the pulsar discovery story began in the mid-1960s when the interstellar scintillation (IPS) technology was discovered. This technology involves the fluctuation of radio signals emitted by compact wireless power sources (such as quasars) and is selected by Hewish to select quasars. While analyzing the output of the telescope, Bernell saw an unexpected mark on the chart, which was recorded approximately every 1.33 seconds.
In the history of radio astronomy, the signal observed by Bernell (1967) was the most suggestive of extraterrestrial life at the time and was described by NASA as “accidental.” But according to Bernell, although the source of the radio signal is believed to be from another civilized country, the team “is not very convinced.”
The paper announcing the first pulsar was submitted to the journal Nature on January 3, 1968 and published in February of the same year. In this article, authors including Burnell and Hewish describe their observation as a “strange new type of wireless power source” and propose that the source can be a white dwarf or a neutron star.
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