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World British physicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell donates $3-million prize to boost diversity

Astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell is donating US$3-million from a major science prize to encourage diversity in physics.

Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images

A leading British astrophysicist is donating her US$3-million purse from a major science prize to encourage diversity in physics.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell says the money will go to the Institute of Physics to fund graduate scholarships for people from underrepresented groups – women, members of ethnic minorities and refugees.

She told the British Broadcasting Corp. that people from minority groups bring “a fresh angle on things and that is often a very productive thing. A lot of breakthroughs, she added, ”come from left field.“

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Ms. Bell Burnell won the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics on Thursday for her role in discovering radio pulsars. The discovery of the rotating neutron stars won a Nobel Prize for physics in 1974, but two of Ms. Bell Burnell’s male colleagues were named the winners.

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