(Submitted February 27, 1998)
Who discovered the first pulsar?
In 1967 Jocelyn Bell discovered the first pulsar. Because she
was a graduate student at the time, her advisor (Anthony Hewish) was
given a share of the 1974 Nobel Prize instead of her.
They had no idea what these signals were, so they were dubbed
little green men (LGM) as a reference to extraterrestrial life. Soon
after, Thomas Gold showed that a spinning neutron star could make the
If you are still interested, there have been a number of very
good articles about this discovery. At any rate, you must read:
This reproduces an article originally presented as an after-dinner
speech at one of the Texas Symposia by Jocelyn Bell Burnell ---
it's a very personal & entertaining account of the discovery.
Jonathan Keohane & Koji Mukai
for Ask an Astrophysicist