Jocelyn Bell Burnell to give away $3 million physics prize

Jocelyn Bell Burnell was overlooked for the 1974 Nobel Prize in physics.

Story highlights

  • Astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell was overlooked for the Nobel Prize in 1974
  • She'll donate new $3 million prize to "opens doors to physics for people from every walk of life"

London (CNN)One of the world's leading astrophysicists says she will donate her $3 million winnings from a prestigious science prize to help others break into the field.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who won a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics on Thursday for her work in discovering pulsars, wants the money to help people from underrepresented groups gain a foothold in the world of physics.
Bell Burnell, who was overlooked for the Nobel Prize in 1974 while her male colleagues received the award, has also been honored for her leadership.
    "I don't want or need the money myself and it seemed to me that this was perhaps the best use I could put to it," she told BBC News on Thursday.
    "I found pulsars because I was a minority person and feeling a bit overawed at Cambridge. I was both female but also from the northwest of the country and I think everybody else around me was southern English," she said.
    "So I have this hunch that minority folk bring a fresh angle on things and that is often a very productive thing. In general, a lot of breakthroughs come from left field."
    The 75-year-old, who was born in Northern Ireland, studied at Cambridge University where she made the groundbreaking discovery of puls