Jocelyn Bell Burnell

The Woman who Changed Science Forever

Scientist Information

Name: Jocelyn Burnell

Full Name: Susane Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Birth Date and Age: July 15, 1943; 72 Years Old

Born In: Ireland

Family Tree: Martin Burnell-Spouse (Divorced in 1993), Gavin Burnell-Son, G. Phillip Bell and M. Allison Bell-Parents

Educational Background:

Lugran College

Physics Degree-Glasgow University

PH.D-University of Cambridge

Taught at-University of Southampton

Professional Location: Cambridge, UK


Jocelyn Bell Burnell is famous for discovering the first pulsars. Pulsars are stars that release regular bursts of radioactive waves. She was also involved in the real construction of the first radio telescope. One day, while looking through her radio telescope, Jocelyn began to take notice of unusual signals she called "scruff". She thought of the "scruff to be some sort of radio wave interference. Over the course of a few days however, it became clear that the signals were coming from the outside solar system. As the discovery began to spread across the news, the scientist community began to wonder where these strange "scruffs" were coming from. The theories ranged from reflections from the moon to extraterrestrial civilization.

Quote from Jocely Bell Burnell

"Scientists should never claim that something is absolutely true. You should never claim perfect, or total, or 100% because you never get there."

-Jocelyn Bell Burnell