Jocelyn Bell Burnell – what a marvellous breath of fresh air! I love science programmes, well I used to, years ago when they were in B&W and not dumbed down with ridiculous SFX and pretty-boy physicists … grrrrrrrrrr !!!

I’ve just been watching the first of a new BBC4 series “Beautiful Minds”, such a treat. A real scientist, one who knows that to continuously develop and expand “understanding” is what it’s all about (both science & Life) not a “search for truth. As Dame Jocelyn says, once you think you’ve got there you stop searching. As I would say, you set the limits of the box you wish to live in.

Jocelyn Bell is the woman who discovered Pulsars … her mean and mealy-mouthed boss, Dr. Hewish, go the Nobel Prize for it although he kept telling her she must be mistaken! Sigh … Wiki says “Dr. Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize, along Dr. Ryle, without the inclusion of Bell as a co-recipient, which was controversial, and was roundly condemned by Hewish’s fellow astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle.[1]”  Well, thank the gods for Hoyle!

The picture is of the young Jocelyn Bell with the 4-acre radio telescope she built … yes, she! She said on the programme that by the time it was up she could certainly swing a sledge-hammer :-).

The programme says … “Who are the modern men and women who will be remembered for the brilliance of their minds? What are their legacies and what can their extraordinary discoveries tell us about the nature of science – and the nature of truth? In episode 1 of this new 3 part series, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell describes how she discovered pulsars; remnants of supernova explosions which make all life in the Universe possible. She describes the moments of despair and jubilation as the discovery unfolded; and her excitement as pulsars took the scientific world by storm. Profoundly reflective about the nature of scientific discovery, she shares her thoughts on the connections between religion and science and describes how she sees science as a search for understanding, rather than a quest for truth.

If you can watch it again in a repeat or on i-player do, it’s great.