Thursday, September 6, 2018


Okay. SID, this means 'sometimes I despair'  my father in law when the dinner table descended into an argument, would then throw his napkin over his head and say S.I.D reducing everyone to laughter.  So what made me think this this morning.
Jocelyn Bell, physicist has just been awarded a cash prize of $3,000,000 for discovering that pulsars(a sort of star) sent out radio waves in the 1960s.  Did she get a prize then, no is the short answer.  As a female student the honours of a Nobel prize went to her supervisers, and as she explained on the Today programme this morning, it was only white middle-aged men that got the medals.
But what is she going to do with the money? and this is where the lovely bit comes in, it will be used to help others to gain the knowledge and placements in astrophysics, ethnic, women and even refugees she says....

She is already in discussion with the Institutes of Physics in the United Kingdom and Ireland about using the prize money to create PhD studentships for people from under-represented groups in science. “Diversity is very important,” says Bell Burnell. “This also recognizes that I did my most important work as a student.”

Somehow that story in a world that is more often grasping and greedy, rights the sense of a moral code for this special American prize.  The prize by the way is funded by entrepreneurs, such as the CEOs of Google and Facebook, and the final paragraph of the Nature article says this.

"Keating adds that the prize “should also be seen as a shot across the bow of the Nobel-prize committee”. He notes that Bell Burnell could still be awarded the Nobel prize, without violating any of the Nobel Foundation’s rules. “Doing so immediately would also send an inspirational message to scientists — male and female, young and old — that it is the discovery itself, not the gender, prestige, or age of the discoverer that really endures.”

There are notes of a feminist crossness in the above, but I do realise that things have changed from the 1960s, but still there is a long way to go;)

And if you want to giggle this morning Murrmurrs blog, always sees the funny side of life.  Who would ever have thought that a teddy bear had balls ;)


  1. Ah gender - still an issue I'm afraid. There is an interesting article in Times 2 today about being the only girl at Eton. Worth a read on the subject. Am now going to nip over to the blogpost you mention.

  2. Well I only get two article to read online from the Times a week, so you need to be more specific on headlines. She made a brave choice though that girl;)


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