Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell at Oxford Literary FestivalThe Sky is for Everyone

The Sky Is for Everyone is an internationally diverse collection of autobiographical essays by women who broke down barriers and changed the face of modern astronomy. Virginia Trimble and David Weintraub vividly describe how, before 1900, a woman who wanted to study the stars had to have a father, brother, or husband to provide entry, and how the considerable intellectual skills of women astronomers were still not enough to enable them to pry open doors of opportunity for much of the twentieth century. After decades of difficult struggles, women are closer to equality in astronomy than ever before. Trimble and Weintraub bring together the stories of the tough and determined women who flung the doors wide open. Taking readers from 1960 to today, this triumphant anthology serves as an inspiration to current and future generations of women scientists while giving voice to the history of a transformative era in astronomy.


Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a well-known astrophysicist who discovered the first pulsars whilst studying at university.  She is a former president of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Institute of Physics. Her writing is included in a new anthology The Sky is for Everyone: Women Astronomers in their Own Words. She has written about the challenges she has faced as a woman astronomer and about the need for greater diversity in astronomy. At Cambridge, she discovered pulsars, a previously unidentified type of star. The subsequent Nobel Prize went to her male supervisor. She later used the award of the £2.3 million US Breakthrough Prize to institute the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund to encourage greater diversity in physics by assisting PhD physics students from underrepresented groups.