Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell shines light on darkening universe

The University of Dundee’s Chancellor, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, will return to the lecture theatre this month to discuss what astronomers understand about the universe, its future and what it means to hope.

One of the UK’s most eminent astrophysicists will share stories from her career and take audiences on an interstellar journey during this year’s Margaret Harris Lecture on Religion.

Past lecturers have included many eminent names from the field of religion, philosophy and other walks of life including Sir Jonathon Porritt, Terry Waite, Director of Oxfam Barbara Stocking and Sir Kenneth Dover, as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2012.

A champion for positive change in science, Professor Dame Bell Burnell’s discovery of pulsars -rotating neutron stars that appear to pulse as a beam of radio waves sweeps over the earth- made together with her supervisor, Antony Hewish, is considered to be one of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the twentieth century.

Her talk takes place on Thursday 17 October at 6 - 7pm in the University’s Dalhousie Building (Lecture Theatre 3) and forms part of the University’s flagship Festival of the Future.

The Reverend Dr Fiona Douglas, University Chaplain who will introduce Dame Bell Burnell’s talk, said, “It is a great honour to welcome our Chancellor to deliver this year’s talk – named after an early benefactor of University College Dundee, Miss Margaret Harris (1815-1894) whose estate endowed the first Chair of Physics and, more recently in 1973, the Chaplaincy Centre here at the University.

“And now, members of the public will have an opportunity to hear from our truly inspiring Chancellor as she shares her love of science, fairness and her thoughts on the future.”

The Margaret Harris Lecture is free to attend, however, tickets must be booked in advance.

Tickets can be found online at

Festival of the Future runs from Wednesday 16 to Sunday 20 October. Each day of the Festival programme will feature events aimed at children, young people and adults, debates with academics and external speakers and high-profile events featuring prestigious figures from the worlds of science and culture.

For media enquiries contact:
Dominic Glasgow
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University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
Tel: +44 (0)1382 385131