Tagged: Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 3:18 pm on September 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell   

    From American Astronomical Society: Women in STEM-“Jocelyn Bell Burnell Receives Special Breakthrough Prize” 


    From American Astronomical Society

    September 6, 2018
    Richard Tresch Fienberg
    Press Officer
    AAS Press Officer

    1

    The Selection Committee of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics today announced a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics recognizing British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell (an honorary AAS member) for her discovery of pulsars — a detection first announced in February 1968 — and her inspiring scientific leadership over the last five decades.

    Bell Burnell receives the Prize “for fundamental contributions to the discovery of pulsars, and a lifetime of inspiring leadership in the scientific community.” The discovery of pulsars was one of the biggest surprises in the history of astronomy, transforming neutron stars from science fiction to reality in a most dramatic way. Among many later consequences, it led to several powerful tests of Einstein’s theory of relativity, and to a new understanding of the origin of the heavy elements in the universe.

    Yuri Milner, one of the founders of the Breakthrough Prizes, said, “Professor Bell Burnell thoroughly deserves this recognition. Her curiosity, diligent observations and rigorous analysis revealed some of the most interesting and mysterious objects in the universe.”

    The Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics can be awarded at any time in recognition of an extraordinary scientific achievement. This is the fourth Special Prize awarded: previous winners are Stephen Hawking, seven CERN scientists whose leadership led to the discovery of the Higgs boson, and the entire LIGO collaboration that detected gravitational waves.

    Five decades after her dramatic discovery of the pulsar, Bell Burnell will be recognized at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony on Sunday, 4 November 2018.

    Discovery of Pulsars

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a graduate student in the mid-1960s, working with Antony Hewish at the University of Cambridge. While taking data with a new radio telescope that she had helped build, she found an unexpected signal: regular pulses of radio waves. With perceptiveness and persistence she characterized the signal and showed it originated from space. She had discovered pulsars. Hewish shared with Sir Martin Ryle the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his decisive role in the discovery of pulsars.”

    “Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s discovery of pulsars will always stand as one of the great surprises in the history of astronomy,” said Edward Witten, the chair of the Selection Committee. “Until that moment, no one had any real idea how neutron stars could be observed, if indeed they existed. Suddenly it turned out that nature has provided an incredibly precise way to observe these objects, something that has led to many later advances.”

    The study of pulsars has led to some of the most stringent tests of the general theory of relativity and the first observational evidence for gravitational waves. In one of the most exciting recent astronomical events, the coalescence of two neutron stars was observed in gravitational waves by LIGO, and in a wide spectrum of electromagnetic waves by a host of other observatories. Such coalescences — called kilonovae — are among the primary sources of heavy elements, like gold, that are so much a part of our daily lives.

    A Lifetime of Leadership

    For the last half-century, Bell Burnell has remained deeply engaged in astronomy, teaching at multiple research institutes and taking on leadership roles such as project manager of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii. Ever a champion of science, education and the STEM curriculum, she has been President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and the first female President of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Bell Burnell is currently a Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford, and Chancellor of the University of Dundee. She received a CBE in 1999 and a DBE in 2007 for her services to astronomy.

    Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

    A Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics can be awarded by the Selection Committee at any time, and in addition to the regular Breakthrough Prize awarded through the ordinary annual nomination process. Unlike the annual Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, the Special Prize is not limited to recent discoveries.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Our mission is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:06 pm on February 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell,   

    From GBO: “50 years ago, graduate student Jocelyn Bell (now Dr. Bell Burnell) was the first to spot “a bit of scruff” in her radio surveys. 

    gbo-logo

    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA
    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA

    gbo-sign

    Green Bank Observatory

    That “scruff” turned out to be a new kind of star, the Pulsar.

    Named for the regular radio pulses it emitted every 1.3 seconds, this exotic star had such a rapid rotation rate that scientists knew it must be small–about the size of a city! The fastest pulsars, known as millisecond pulsars, spin at a few hundred times per second… that’s faster than your kitchen blender!

    By carefully measuring when radio pulses arrive from millisecond pulsars, astronomers can track the tiny changes in the distance from the Earth to the pulsars caused by the stretching and squeezing of spacetime due to a gravitational wave. Today, astronomers from NANOGrav (North American Nanohertz Observatory forGravitational Waves) are searching for these gravitational waves using some of the largest telescopes in the world, including the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

    1
    Graduate student Jocelyn Bell. This year marks the semicentennial of the discovery of pulsars, first observed by Jocelyn Bell Burnell, shown here in 1968 at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory in Cambridge, England.

    3
    Astronomers see galaxies merging throughout the universe, some of which should result in binary supermassive black holes. (Image: NASA)

    From social media, no link.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    gbo-science-building

    Mission Statement

    Green Bank Observatory enables leading edge research at radio wavelengths by offering telescope, facility and advanced instrumentation access to the astronomy community as well as to other basic and applied research communities. With radio astronomy as its foundation, the Green Bank Observatory is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education.

    History

    60 years ago, the trailblazers of American radio astronomy declared this facility their home, establishing the first ever National Radio Astronomy Observatory within the United States and the first ever national laboratory dedicated to open access science. Today their legacy is alive and well.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:07 pm on November 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, ,   

    From CSIRO: Women in STEM – “Fifty years ago Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars and changed our view of the universe” Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIROscope

    28 November 2017
    George Hobbs
    Dick Manchester
    Simon Johnston

    4
    Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. BBC.

    1
    CSIRO Parkes radio telescope has discovered around half of all known pulsars. Wayne England, Author provided.

    A pulsar is a small, spinning star – a giant ball of neutrons, left behind after a normal star has died in a fiery explosion.

    With a diameter of only 30 km, the star spins up to hundreds of times a second, while sending out a beam of radio waves (and sometimes other radiation, such as X-rays). When the beam is pointed in our direction and into our telescopes, we see a pulse.

    2017 marks 50 years since pulsars were discovered. In that time, we have found more than 2,600 pulsars (mostly in the Milky Way), and used them to hunt for low-frequency gravitational waves, to determine the structure of our galaxy and to test the general theory of relativity.

    The Discovery

    In mid-1967, when thousands of people were enjoying the summer of love, a young PhD student at the University of Cambridge in the UK was helping to build a telescope.

    It was a poles-and-wires affair – what astronomers call a “dipole array”. It covered a bit less than two hectares, the area of 57 tennis courts.

    2
    Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered the first pulsar. CC BY-SA

    By July it was built. The student, Jocelyn Bell (now Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell), became responsible for running it and analysing the data it churned out. The data came in the form of pen-on-paper chart records, more than 30 metres of them each day. Bell analysed them by eye.

    What she found – a little bit of “scruff” on the chart records – has gone down in history.

    Like most discoveries, it took place over time. But there was a turning point. On November 28, 1967, Bell and her supervisor, Antony Hewish, were able to capture a “fast recording” – that is, a detailed one – of one of the strange signals.

    In this she could see for the first time that the “scruff” was actually a train of pulses spaced by one-and-a-third seconds. Bell and Hewish had discovered pulsars.

    But this wasn’t immediately obvious to them. Following Bell’s observation they worked for two months to eliminate mundane explanations for the signals.

    Bell also found another three sources of pulses, which helped to scotch some rather more exotic explanations, such as the idea that the signals came from “little green men” in extraterrestrial civilisations. The discovery paper appeared in Nature on February 24, 1968.

    Later, Bell missed out when Hewish and his colleague Sir Martin Ryle were awarded the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics.[More discrimination.]

    A pulsar on ‘the pineapple’

    CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope in Australia made its first observation of a pulsar in 1968, later made famous by appearing (along with the Parkes telescope) on the first Australian $50 note.

    Fifty years later, Parkes has found more than half of the known pulsars. The University of Sydney’s Molonglo Telescope also played a central role, and they both remain active in finding and timing pulsars today.

    U Sidney Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST), Hoskinstown, Australia

    Internationally, one of the most exciting new instruments on the scene is China’s Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST.

    FAST radio telescope, now operating, located in the Dawodang depression in Pingtang county Guizhou Province, South China

    FAST has recently found several new pulsars, confirmed by the Parkes telescope and a team of CSIRO astronomers working with their Chinese colleagues.

    Why look for pulsars?

    We want to understand what pulsars are, how they work, and how they fit into the general population of stars. The extreme cases of pulsars – those that are super fast, super slow, or extremely massive – help to limit the possible models for how pulsars work, telling us more about the structure of matter at ultra-high densities. To find these extreme cases, we need to find lots of pulsars.

    Pulsars often orbit companion stars in binary systems, and the nature of these companions helps us understand the formation history of the pulsars themselves. We’ve made good progress with the “what” and “how” of pulsars but there are still unanswered questions.

    As well as understanding pulsars themselves, we also use them as a clock. For example, pulsar timing is being pursued as a way to detect the background rumble of low-frequency gravitational waves throughout the universe.

    Pulsars have also been used to measure the structure of our Galaxy, by looking at the way their signals are altered as they travel through denser regions of material in space.

    Pulsars are also one of the finest tools we have for testing Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

    This theory has survived 100 years of the most sophisticated tests astronomers have been able throw at it. But it doesn’t play nicely with our other most successful theory of how the universe works, quantum mechanics, so it must have a tiny flaw somewhere. Pulsars help us to try and understand this problem.

    What keeps pulsar astronomers up at night (literally!) is the hope of finding a pulsar in orbit around a black hole. This is the most extreme system we can imagine for testing general relativity.

    Finally, pulsars have some more down-to-earth applications. We’re using them as a teaching tool in our PULSE@Parkes program, in which students control the Parkes telescope over the Internet and use it to observe pulsars. This program has reached over 1,700 students, in Australia, Japan, China, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and South Africa.Pulsars also offer promise as a navigation system for guiding craft travelling through deep space. In 2016 China launched a satellite, XPNAV-1, carrying a navigation system that uses periodic X-ray signals from certain pulsars.Pulsars have changed our our understanding of the universe, and their true importance is still unfolding

    2
    XPNAV-1 was sent skyward atop a Long March 11 solid-fuelled rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (Image Source: Weibo)

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: