The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell Hon MRIA awarded the 2023 Cunningham Medal

07 March 2023

Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell Hon MRIA , was awarded the Royal Irish Academy’s Cunningham Medal at a ceremony in Dublin on Tuesday, 28 February 2023.

The Cunningham Medal is the Academy’s premier award which is awarded every three years and dates back to 1796. The 2023 Cunningham Medal was awarded to Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Hon MRIA, in recognition of her research, wide contribution to academia, public engagement and her international leadership in science.

She is currently Chancellor of the University of Dundee and was previously a Pro Vice Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin. She holds numerous Honorary Doctorates. She was elected as an Honorary Member of the Academy in 2012.

During her postgraduate study at Cambridge she made a major discovery: In November 1967 she discovered the first pulsars, previously unknown objects in the universe. Working at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Laboratory she discovered several pulsars over the next few months. Throughout her long and productive life, Jocelyn Bell Burnell has truly embodied the aims of the Royal Irish Academy in promoting academic excellence, independence, and academic freedom.

The presentation of the medal was made at a ceremony in the Royal Irish Academy on 28 February and can be watched back now.


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