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Pliers, pulsars and extreme physics

  1. Aug 14, 2008 #1


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    Ever wondered what it is like to make a major discovery in astrophysics?

    You may be interested in reading Jocelyn Bell Burnell's account of how she discovered pulsars as a postgraduate: Pliers, pulsars and extreme physics.

    BTW, - Jocelyn is too gracious to mention this - so great was the discovery that it merited a Nobel Prize, which went to her supervisor!
    I liked the bit about pulsar prior discoveries:
    Ever thumped your apparatus to stop it misbehaving?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2008 #2


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    Happens a lot, I think a German guy discovered the electron before Thompson but put it down to faulty equipement.

    We used to teach a lab where a graph deliberately had a spike due to stray lead capacitance - most of the students removed the 'bad' measurement to get the straight line. Generally it was the 'best' students who knew what the result should look like.
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