Women scientists were always in the shadow of their male counterpart. It took a long time for them to be recognized in their own merits. Even when Marie Curie shared a reward from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded in December 1903, with her husband Pierre and Henri Becquerel a Nobel Prize in Physics, the committee had no intention to include her name. Pierre Curie refused to receive the prizes without including his wife Marie that was an equal participant in their research. She was the first woman to receive this prestigious reward. Even after the death of her husband, in rare occurrence, she was recognized again 1911 by winning another Noble price but now for Chemistry.
It was under the advocacy of Magnus Goesta Mittag-Leffler, a Swedish mathematician and a member of the Noble Prize committee who was also an advocate for women scientists, alerted Pierre Curie to the situation that would not have happened. Afterward only one other woman awarded this prize in Physics in 1963
by Maria Goeppert Mayer and nothing happened since.
After almost 55 years another prestigious scientific reward bring back to the surface the Noble Prize awarded, or the lack of it, to female scientists in the Physics category. The news came from the Breakthrough Prize @ https://breakthroughprize.org/News/45 in their special announcement:
“SPECIAL BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE IN FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS AWARDED TO JOCELYN BELL BURNELL FOR DISCOVERY OF PULSARS”
“September 6, 2018 (San Francisco) – The Selection Committee of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics today announced a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics recognizing the British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell for her discovery of pulsars – a detection first announced in February 1968 – and her inspiring scientific leadership over the last five decades.”
Jocelyn Bell Burnell received the Prize “for fundamental contributions to the discovery of pulsars, and a lifetime of inspiring leadership in the scientific community.”
Why or where is the big news here? Beside the fact that Previous Recipients of the Special Prize were of high caliber in their fields Include Stephen Hawking, Seven CERN Scientists Whose Leadership Led to the Discovery of the Higgs Boson, and to the Entire LIGO Collaboration that Detected Gravitational Waves.
The following two headlines can give a clue of Why this big attention and where is the news in awarding this prize.
“Decades After Being Passed Over for a Nobel, Jocelyn Bell Burnell Gets Her Due”
“Scientist Robbed of Nobel in 1974 Finally Wins $3 Million Physics Prize — And Gives It Away”
The big news is not why she awarded the prestigious prize, because simply the answer to this question is; she deserved it, not now but 34 years earlier. She has been in the astrophysics domain since her early days as a graduate student when she made the most important astrophysics discoveries of the 20th century: the radio pulsar. The discovery earned a Nobel Prize in 1974, not to her but to Antony Hewish who was her supervisor at the University of Cambridge who helped building the radio telescope but the discovery was hers.
This tragedy took 34 years to get rectified not by another Nobel Prize but a Special Breakthrough Prize that is worth 6 time what she is supposed to get. We all know this is not about money but about recognition. She used the money to establish a scholarship to help women and ethnic minorities to pursue their dreams in the field of science.
Kristina Ruzhilo. to read moor click citizenshipprograms.com