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Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Press Release - 14 November 2005

Free lecture: The poetry of the skies

World-renowned physicist, Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, will be looking at how poetry portrays astronomy in a free lecture this week. The talk, Astronomy and poetry, will take place at the University of Bath in Swindon on Wednesday 16 November.

An astronomer with a long-standing interest in literature, Professor Bell Burnell will be focussing on poetry from the last 50 years. She will consider whether poets engage with the science and if poetry has followed the major developments in astronomy. The talk will include poetry readings and slides.

Professor Bell Burnell said: “I couldn’t be without science, but that alone doesn’t satisfy me. I have ‘collected’ poetry with an astronomical theme for many years. There’s an amazing amount out there, I have approximately 150 poems just from the last 50 years.”

Professor Bell Burnell received her PhD in radio astronomy at Cambridge in 1968, where she was involved in the discovery of pulsars. This was the beginning of a distinguished career that has included posts at the University of Bath, University College, London and the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. She has received a number of prestigious awards for her achievements, including the Royal Astronomical Society’s Herschel Medal, and she has also won the Edinburgh medal for services to science and society. In 1999 she was made a CBE. In 2003 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society, the world’s most respected scientific academy.

Admission to the talk is free, and people can just turn up on the evening. Free parking available in the West Car Park. All lectures run from 5.30pm until 6.30pm in the Main Hall on the Oakfield Campus, Marlowe Avenue.


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