New Royal Society portrait of eminent Quaker physicist tells a story of equality

The portrait by Stephen Shankland shows Dame Jocelyn at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, in front of a 1930s 36in Grubb-Parsons reflecting telescope.

The Royal Society has added to its art collection a new portrait of the eminent Quaker physicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who is a member of the lively Meeting in neighbouring Bradford-on-Avon.

The Guardian notes that the vast majority of Royal Society portraits are of men. It reports:

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a 24-year-old graduate student when in 1967 she discovered a new type of star later called a pulsar. It was a sensational find…she has since been a trailblazing promoter for women and the marginalised in science and was the first woman to be president of the Institute of Physics.

An article in the Quakers n the World series goes further into the deep links between her work and her faith. In 2018 she gifted the substantial proceeds of Breakthrough prize in fundamental physics to the Institute of Physics to fund PhD studentships for people underrepresented in physics.

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