Jocelyn Bell Burnell

I once again have a brief, but heartfelt, post to honor Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

The first I heard of Jocelyn Bell Burnell was good reports of her as clerk of London Yearly Meeting. And then in 2000, I got to hear her speak at the annual Gathering of Friends General Conference. That is when I learned of her scientific accomplishments as an astrophysicist.

Burnell (then Bell), as a postgraduate student, discovered pulsars. As a student (and, I believe, as a woman), she was not included in the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics that was awarded to her supervisor, Antony Hewish.

In Burnell’s address to Friends, several things particularly struck me: her generosity of spirit, tested by grief; her embrace of both science and spirit; and her vivid cosmological description of us (and everything around us) as being made of stardust.

Deeply weird

There’s a little graphic and such, but here’s the central, weird finding of a Pew study reported in The Climate Change Attitude Mystery | Wired Science from Wired.com

The confounding part: among college‐educated poll respondents, 19 percent of Republicans believe that human activities are causing global warming, compared to 75 percent of Democrats. But take that college education away and Republican believers rise to 31 percent while Democrats drop to 52 percent.

Nice blog post on the golden rectangle and Fibonacci sequences

The whole blog looks interesting, but this is the first post that caught my attention on Cabinet of Wonders: The Wonder of the Golden Proportions

Ever hear of the Golden Mean? Neither had I, until I was supposed to teach a graphic design course, and started (you know me) to do research on what, exactly, I should be teaching.

It’s really a lovely little essay (illustrated!) on these mathematical and design basics.