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Ethics Case in Physics

Published on March 2017 | Categories: Documents | Downloads: 2 | Comments: 0
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Ethics Case in Physics: Sexism and the Discovery of Pulsars
Chris Krier
In July 1967 at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, graduate student Jocelyn
Bell became the first astronomer to discover signals indicative of an astrophysical phenomenon
called the pulsar. The scientific paper announcing the discovery listed Bell second on the list of
authors and her advisor, Antony Hewish, first. Additionally, the Nobel Prize in Physics of 1974
honoring the discovery was shared by Hewish and Sir Martin Ryle, director of the research
observatory at which Bell worked when she made the discovery. The Nobel Prize in Physics is
the most prestigious award in the field and awards the recipients a substantial monetary sum and
eternal recognition.
Hewish and Ryle were officially given the Nobel "for their pioneering research in 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." (All Nobel Prizes in
Physics). Despite the fact that Bell in actuality made the decisive discovery of pulsars, Hewish
was named first in the paper and subsequently given the primary credit for the actual
discovery. The exclusion of Bell from the Nobel is an injustice in the field of science for she
was not given equal recognition for her discovery and she was granted secondary importance in
the announcement of the discovery in its scientific paper. Members of the physics community
have accused the Nobel Committee to have had a sexist bias in its exclusion of Bell from the
Nobel Prize.
References
All Nobel Prizes in Physics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/

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