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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Feb 28, 2020

Jocelyn Bell Burnell talks through her professional history, from overcoming imposter syndrome as a graduate student in Cambridge to discovering pulsars, getting passed over for a Nobel Prize, inspiring Joy Division to make one of the most iconic album covers of all time, and doing her best to lift up women and people of color interested in graduate work in astronomy.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell inadvertently discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy in Cambridge, opening up a new branch of astrophysics – work recognized by the award of a Nobel Prize to her supervisor. She has subsequently worked in many roles in many branches of astronomy, working part-time while raising a family. She is now a Visiting Professor in Oxford, and the Chancellor of the University of Dundee, Scotland. She has chaired, served on, or serviced more Research Council Boards, Committees and Panels than she wishes to remember, and has also chaired a European Community Committee. She has been President of the Royal Astronomical Society, in 2008 became the first female President of the Institute of Physics and in 2014 the first female President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She was one of the small group of women scientists that set up the Athena SWAN scheme. She has received many honours, including a $3M Breakthrough Prize in 2018. The public appreciation and understanding of scinece have always been important to her, and she is much in demand as a speaker and broadcaster. In her spare time she gardens, listens to choral music and is active in the Quakers. She has co-edited an anthology of poetry with an astronomical theme – Dark Matter: Poems of Space.

Jedidah Isler is an Astrophysicist and Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College. An advocate for diversity in STEM, she was Yale University's first African-American woman to earn a PhD in Astrophysics. In 2015, Isler founded Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM. She gave an inspiring TED talk on the urgent need for diversity in STEM and science.

To watch the video of this talk, please visit