Women in Science

Three Year 12 students carried out a remarkable interview with astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell as part of their Gold CREST Award on Women in Science. 

Suraya, Ruby and Ailbhe, who have been producing and editing an incredibly professional Podcast for the award, used their initiative to arrange the interview themselves. The final interview provides an incredible insight into Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s journey into science and her phenomenal discover of pulsars, when working as a postgraduate student in the 1960s, which made unprecedented waves for the worlds of physics and astrophysics. 

But the students also explored the incredible difference that Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s role in science has led to for women in the field. After being told that as a girl she would have to join domestic science classes which covered needlework and cooking, she was catcalled every time she entered a lecture theatre as the only female on her degree course, and then later her male supervisor was awarded the Nobel prize for her discovery of Pulsars, Jocelyn Bell Burnell has fought as a woman in science throughout her life.  

But the students learned that these experiences made Jocelyn Bell Burnell more ambitious to work even harder and never give up so that advancements could be made in astrophysics and science could be more open to women. And she said that today, science is getting more conscious of gender bias, with representation of women in science departments being much better, more effort to get women into physical science being made in secondary schools and universities and young women feeling more confident to enter the field.  

Congratulations to the students on securing, conducting and editing such a professional and insightful podcast.  

Head of Physics, Lee Moore said: “Securing this interview is a huge deal, and I am so proud of Suraya, Ruby and Ailbhe for doing this. It shows what you can achieve if you just give something a go. Well done!”