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Cymraeg

A celebration of women in astronomy

30 October 2010

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell BurnellProfessor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Renowned British astrophysicist Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who made one of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the twentieth century, will give the first in a series of Equality and Diversity lectures at Cardiff University.

On Wednesday 10th November, Dame Jocelyn will tell the stories of some of the most prominent women in astronomy in recent times and look at the evolution of women in the physical sciences in her lecture, entitled A celebration of women in astronomy.

As a postgraduate student, Dame Jocelyn discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish for which Hewish later shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Martin Ryle. Controversially, Dame Jocelyn was not a co-recipient.

The lecture open to all staff and students is the first in the new series run by the University’s Women Professors Network. The Network is a forum for identifying and meeting the career needs of the University’s senior female staff. It pursues the interests of the University by engaging practically with a significant aspect of its equality and diversity agenda. The forum offers its core professorial membership a range of opportunities for networking and training, and draws on that core membership, to create the means for mentoring and training aspiring women professors.

"Higher Education is, and has been for many years, male dominated, particularly at the senior levels," said Professor Terry Threadgold, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Staff and Diversity. "There is substantial evidence that, overall, women underachieve in the academy, earning less, and taking longer to gain promotion. Consequently, women are underrepresented in leadership and management roles, and on the major committees and other decision-making bodies in universities."

The Network aims to act as a catalyst for change, both in the professional actions and perceptions of its members and in the culture and practice of the University.

Speaking about the event, Professor Threadgold said: "I’m delighted to welcome Dame Jocelyn to the University to discuss this key issue. She is a champion of women in science and it will be fascinating to hear her thoughts on this subject, as well as her first-hand experiences. The University is committed to equality and diversity and to supporting women in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM) subjects. This lecture reinforces that and will, I hope, inspire and encourage women in all fields of research."

The University’s good practice in advancing and promoting the careers of women in science has been recognised with an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. Recently, the Schools of Optometry and Vision Sciences and Nursing and Midwifery Studies were also awarded silver and bronze Athena SWAN awards respectively for their work in this area.

Dame Jocelyn’s lecture starts at 6.30pm on 10th November in Birt Acres lecture theatre, Bute Building, with a drinks reception beforehand from 6.00pm. Places can be reserved by contacting Jo Breeze via headlandg@cardiff.ac.uk

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