Star-crossed physicists

November 8, 2002

Proof that Nobel laureates read The Diary arrived this week in the form of an email from Anthony Hewish, who won the 1974 prize for physics for the discovery of pulsars. He wrote about a Diary item on Jocelyn Bell Burnell from October 25.

The awarding of his Nobel prize was controversial because Professor Bell Burnell, despite collecting and analysing the data a postgraduate student, was excluded from sharing in it.

Professor Hewish writes: "Columbus is credited with the discovery of America, although the lookout who shouted 'Land Ho' was also involved. Jocelyn was an excellent student but she did not discover pulsars all by herself with her supervisor looking on." He has a point.

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