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Ulster astrophysicist is star of Women of the Year awards

By Rebecca Black

Published 20/10/2015

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Nicole Kidman
Katie Melua
Gloria Hunniford

A scientist and "true trailblazer" from Belfast has been recognised with a lifetime achievement gong from the UK Women of the Year awards.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was part of the team that made the greatest astronomial discovery of the 20th century ­- the first pulsar, a spinning star made up of neutrons.

However, while her male colleagues were awarded the Nobel Prize for their efforts, she was excluded.

Jane Luca, chair of Women of the Year, said Dame Jocelyn truly deserves the lifetime achievement award to celebrate her accomplishments and her "remarkable contributions to science".

Dame Jocelyn also broke a number of glass ceilings, including being one of the first women to study science at Cambridge, was the first female president of the Institute of Physics from 2008-2010, and recently appointed the first female president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014.

She is also currently visiting professor of astrophysics at Mansfield College Oxford.

Yorkshire nurse Cokie van der Velde won the overall Barclays Women of the Year Award for her work with Ebola victims across 14 countries.

A glittering audience attended the awards including movie star Nicole Kidman, as well as Ulster TV presenter Gloria Hunniford and singer Katie Melua, who was educated in Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph

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