Jocelyn Bell-Burnell

Bell Burnell’s Special Breakthrough Prize money to be donated for new studentships

Jocelyn Bell-Burnell
University of Birmingham

World-renowned astrophysicist and former President of the Institute of Physics (IOP), Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell will donate winnings from her Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to the IOP for the running of graduate studentships for people from under-represented groups.

In reaction to news of Jocelyn winning the prize and her donation to the IOP, Professor Dame Julia Higgins, President of the IOP, said: “This prize is an excellent and hugely appropriate acknowledgement of Jocelyn’s work. Her discovery of pulsars still stands as one of the most significant discoveries in physics and inspires scientists the world over. Her example of using insight and tenacity to make a discovery that rings through the ages stands her alongside the greatest of scientists.

“Alongside her scientific achievement, Jocelyn has become a hugely respected leader in the scientific community. She has been instrumental in making sure the issue of access to science by people from under-represented groups is at the very top of the science community’s agenda.

“We at IOP are delighted to receive this donation from Jocelyn and are looking forward to working with her to develop a programme that opens doors to physics for people from every walk of life.”

The IOP’s Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Youngman, said in response to the news: “We’re honoured and delighted to receive this donation from Jocelyn. With our work in schools, colleges, businesses and universities we open doors to people from under-represented groups so that they can study or practise physics. This donation will enable us to connect with a greater range of under-represented groups and by doing so, enrich physics as a discipline with an increasingly diverse intake of students practising it.”

The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics is awarded by the Breakthrough Foundation to individuals who have made profound contributions to human knowledge. It was announced today that Jocelyn had been awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics “for fundamental contributions to the discovery of pulsars, and a lifetime of inspiring leadership in the scientific community.” She will be recognised at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony on 4 November.


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