British astrophysicist, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell earned the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics award last month for “the role she played in the discovery of pulsars during the mid-1960s.” At the time of her findings, the field of astrophysics was heavily male dominated. So much so that two “of her male colleagues, Anthony Hewish and Sir Martin Ryle, were handed the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics for the research.” Prof Bell Burnell was not included in the Nobel Prize award.
Despite having no ill will towards the men who benefited from there position, the professor recognizes that much can be done in the field of diversity. Which is why Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell announced that she will donate the entirety of her £2.3m ($3m USD) prize from to promote diversity among researchers.
“Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell announced the money will be used to fund scholarships to help women, refugees and people from ethnic minority groups into the sciences.” The cash prize will be given to the “Institute of Physics (IOP), which said the money would be used to “open the door” to the sciences for underrepresented groups.”
Prof Bell Burnell’s findings as a young research student at Cambridge University has been since used to map the visible universe.