LIGO Lab Congratulates Jocelyn Bell Burnell

The Breakthrough Prize Selection Committee has awarded the 2018 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to Jocelyn Bell Burnell for her 1967 discovery of pulsars. LIGO Laboratory extends heartfelt congratulations to Professor Bell Burnell on this much-deserved award.

The discovery is a milestone in gravitational-wave astronomy. Observations of a pulsar in 1974 provided the 1st indirect evidence of the existence of gravitational waves. In 2015, LIGO confirmed their existence by directly observing gravitational waves from colliding black holes. Arrays of pulsars (or pulsar-timing arrays) with rotational range of 1-10 milliseconds are being used to search for low-frequency (10-9 - 10-6 Hz) gravitational waves.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell plans to donate the $3M award to fund scholarships in physics for underrepresented minorities.

Image credit: Jocelyn Bell Burnell/Breakthrough Prizes

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