The ”la Caixa” Foundation presents the conference on November 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the CosmoCaixa Science Museum The discovery of pulsars. The story of a doctoral student»in charge of Jocelyn Bell BurnellPhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge, professor and researcher at large prestigious universities.
This conference is organized by the ”la Caixa” Foundation and is being held within the framework of the congress of the European Space Agency (ESA)in connection with “The Extreme Universe” and The Athena X-ray Observatory project.
Bell will review the history of one of the most important discoveries in physics: pulsars or, what is the same, neutron stars. Nanda Rea, an astrophysicist from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), will moderate the session.
The physics expert will recount the moment when, while observing distant objects from other galaxies with a radio telescope, she perceived a strange signal that repeated itself every 1.3 seconds. After studying that part of the sky for days and nights, analyzing hundreds of graphs and seeing that the signal was constantly reproduced, he knew that he had discovered the first neutron star.
Pulsars, a fascinating phenomenon
Studies indicate that a pulsar is a small, rapidly rotating neutron star.. The best known is in the Crab Nebula. A neutron star is the remnant that remains after a massive supergiant star dies. Pulsars emit a large amount of energy. Their density is so great that, in them, matter the size of a ballpoint pen has a mass of about 100,000 tons. Neutron stars emit this periodic radiation (or pulsar) at short, regular intervals.
Since their discovery, pulsars have not stopped surprising us, not only as interesting objects for astrophysics (now we know of the existence of 3,000 of them in our galaxy), but also for their value in studying nuclear physics and cosmic rays or for detect gravitational waves. This galaxy phenomenon could even become our GPS in the not-too-distant future.
In this session, Bell will reveal the secrets of the most magnetic and dense objects in the universe. A great opportunity to learn more about space, stars and pulsars, and to discuss in person with a science great.
Cycle dedicated to the greats of science
This session is the fourth in the series Grandes de la Ciencia, which the ”la Caixa” Foundation has been organizing since May at the CosmoCaixa Science Museum with illustrious personalities from science who have reached great milestones or who have made exceptional discoveries for humanity. This initiative has already had the visits of Nobel laureates in Physics Michel Mayor and Serge Haroche, and the popular NASA astronaut Terry Virts.
In each of the sessions, visitors who come to the museum can explore, thanks to today’s best scientists, the most relevant and fascinating aspects of contemporary science. In this way, viewers can learn about extraordinary contributions and discoveries from the experts themselves, as well as ask them any questions that may arise. This is a unique opportunity to access knowledge about the universe and our planet, about matter and life, about evolution or about any other study that helps us answer the big questions of science, guided by its greatest protagonists.
Monday, November 8, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. The discovery of pulsars. The story of a doctoral student, with Jocelyn Bell
JOCELYN BELL BIOGRAPHY
Jocelyn Bell Burnell has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Cambridge. She has been a professor and researcher at large universities and prestigious entities, such as the University of Southampton, University College London, the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, the Open University, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, in Hawaii, or the University from Princeton, and is Dean of Science at the University of Bath and President of the Royal Astronomical Society. Recognized with many awards, she is currently Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford.
About your research
Pulsars were discovered in 1967 by Jocelyn Bell and Anthony Hewish at the Cambridge Radio Astronomy Observatory.. Many pulsating stars are known, but only two, the Crab Pulsar and the Vela Pulsar, emit detectable visible pulses. These two are also known to emit gamma-ray pulses, and one, the Crab, also emits X-ray pulses. For this important discovery the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in 1974; however, Bell was not one of the recipients of the award.
Nanda Rea, astrophysicist. She works as a staff scientist for the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and at the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC). She is part of the Athena science study team at the European Space Agency (ESA).
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Jocelyn Bell will tell at CosmoCaixa how she discovered pulsars, one of the most important discoveries in physics