UK physicist donates $3 million prize to boost diversity

LONDON — One of Britain's leading astrophysicists is donating her $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 under-represented groups — women, members of ethnic minorities and refugees.

She told the BBC 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."

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 Bell Burnell's male colleagues were named the winners.

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