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Forward Thinking: Jocelyn Bell Burnell

One of the world’s most celebrated astrophysicists, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, argues space research needs a new approach.

In 1967, Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered a previously unknown kind of star, the Pulsar. A Nobel prize followed, but not for Jocelyn; her male boss took the honour. Jocelyn has never been bitter about the award, but says that today things should have moved much further than they have. More women are working in space research, but is it enough?

In conversation with Nuala McGovern, she argues that different perspectives are essential for moving the science forward. One of these is a more global, inclusive vision to exploring the cosmos. India and China have prestigious space programmes, and the low-key space missions of Japan and South Africa collaborate with international partners from around the world. We discuss how global enthusiasm for space research can be used to propel change.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

This is the second of a series of four programmes from the Oxford Literary Festival, presented by Nuala McGovern, produced by Julian Siddle.

Recorded in front of an audience at Worcester College Oxford.


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