Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell - Allison Levick Memorial Lecture

Thu 19 July 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm FREE!
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Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell - Allison Levick Memorial Lecture - Macquarie University - North Ryde - NSW
Transient Astronomy - Bursts, Bangs and things that go Bump in the night

With the advancement of new technology and equipment, astronomers can now study the sky in new ways. In particular, they are able to see things that vary quickly in brightness, and things that move, revealing a host of new phenomena. In a 50 minute lecture, Radio Astronomer, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, will introduce some of these discoveries.

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British astrophysicist, scholar and trailblazer Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered the space-based phenomena known as pulsars, going on to establish herself as an esteemed leader in her field.

Astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1943. As a research assistant, she helped build a large radio telescope and discovered pulsars, providing the first direct evidence for the existence of rapidly spinning neutron stars. In addition to her affiliation with Open University, she has served as dean of science at the University of Bath and president of the Royal Astronomical Society. Bell Burnell has also earned countless awards and honors during her distinguished academic career.

Little Green Men

In 1965, Bell Burnell began her graduate studies in radio astronomy at the University of Cambridge. One of several research assistants and students working under astronomers Anthony Hewish, her thesis advisor, and Martin Ryle, over the next two years she helped construct a massive radio telescope designed to monitor quasars. By 1967 it was operational and Bell Burnell was tasked with analyzing the data it produced. After spending endless hours poring over the charts, she noticed some anomalies that didn’t fit with the patterns produced by quasars and called them to Hewish’s attention.

Over the ensuing months, the team systematically eliminated all possible sources of the radio pulses—which they affectionately labeled Little Green Men, in reference to their potentially artificial origins—until they were able to deduce that they were made by neutron stars, fast-spinning collapsed stars too small to form black holes.

Nobel Prize Controversy

Their findings were published in the February 1968 issue of Nature and caused an immediate sensation. Intrigued as much by the novelty of a woman scientist as by the astronomical significance of the team's discovery, which were labeled pulsars—for pulsating radio stars—the press picked up the story and showered Bell Burnell with attention. That same year, she earned her Ph.D. in radio astronomy from Cambridge University

Allison Levick Memorial Lecture

The Allison-Levick Memorial Lecture is funded by a bequest from Mr Jack Allison-Levick, a Melbourne psychiatrist with a life-long interest in astronomy. Mr Allison-Levick had seen photographs taken with the AAO's telescopes by astrophotographer David Malin, and was moved to leave money in his will for talks that would enhance the public understanding of astronomy and further the reputation of the Observatory.


Doors open 6pm for 6.30pm start

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Your best bet is to take the train to Macquarie University and walk up, or you can park in the university carparks

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please contact events@aao.gov.au with any questions you may have or call 0417 689 003.
Thu 19 July 2018
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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Macquarie University
Lotus Theatre - 27 Wally's Walk,
North Ryde,
2109, Australia