On 11 June 2015, Dame Jocelyn Bell was awarded the Golden Medal of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) for her fundamental role in the discovery of pulsars.
The medal was presented by the President of CSIC, Emilio Lora-Tamayo. The ceremony took place at the main hall of CSIC in Madrid (Spain) and was followed by the conference “Reflections on the discovery of pulsars” presented by Professor Bell.
Professor Bell was proposed to the highest distinction of CSIC by the Women and Science Committee for her outstanding scientific achievement and her life long contributions. The main objectives of the Committee are to improve the scientific career of women at CSIC and to increase the visibility of their work. These goals are closely related to the quality of science. The Woman and Science Committee wanted to pay homage to all scientists that have contributed to our knowledge and have not received the recognition they deserved. The proposal was supported by many scientists, the Spanish Society of Astronomy and the Spanish Royal Physics Society.
Jocelyn Bell discovered the first pulsar in 1967 while working in her PhD thesis, under the supervision of Professor Hewish, at Cambridge University. The importance of this discovery was highlighted by the Swedish Academy awarding the Nobel Prize of Physics in 1974 to M. Ryle and A. Hewish “for their pioneering research on radio astrophysics: Ryle for his observations and inventions, in particular of the aperture synthesis technique and Hewish for his decisive role in the discovery of pulsars”.
Professor Bell has been honoured by prestigious organizations as the American Astronomical Society (1986) and the Royal Society of Astronomy (1989). Since February of 2014 she is President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, been the first woman holding this office.