Pioneering scientist receives honorary doctorate

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AN academic credited with one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century has received an honorary degree from Edinburgh Napier University.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell joined hundreds of students at a ceremony in the city’s Usher Hall to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Dame Jocelyn celebrates being awarded her honorary degree
Dame Jocelyn celebrates being awarded her honorary degree

 

Dame Jocelyn was a research student at Cambridge when she discovered the first radio pulsars, although she was controversially excluded from the 1974 Nobel Prize for Physics award to her thesis supervisor which followed the breakthrough.

After completing her PhD, her career led her into x-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, and then into infrared and millimetre wave astronomy at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, where she worked for ten years.

Dame Jocelyn has worked at institutions including Universities of London, Southampton, Oxford, Bath and Princeton (USA), and served as a Professor of Physics at the Open University for ten years.

She joined hundreds of students at a ceremony at Edinburgh Napier
She joined hundreds of students at a ceremony at Edinburgh Napier

 

She is the current President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She was awarded a CBE in 1999, which was elevated to a DBE in 2007.

Dame Jocelyn, who has campaigned to boost the number of women in senior physics and astronomy posts, said:” I look forward to an association with this University, named after a famous Merchiston mathematician John Napier.”

The other Edinburgh Napier University honorary degree recipients are:
• Professor Kevin Warwick, expert in artificial intelligence and robotics, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Technology on Monday 6th July
• Louise Welsh, leading novelist, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts on Tuesday 7th July

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “It is a tremendous honour to see people who have made such significant contributions to the worlds of science and the arts joining our celebrations.
“Their industry, drive and ambition will inspire our students as they go out to make their own mark on the world.”

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