Conference to celebrate pulsar’s 40th

Published: 24 July 2007

Astrophysicists gather for five-day homage to neutron star

McGill University will host the international conference 40 Years of Pulsars: Millisecond Pulsars, Magnetars and More to commemorate the landmark 1967 discovery of the first pulsar. The conference will be held August 13 to 17, 2007, in the Leacock Building, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Room 132.

The conference will open with a keynote lecture by Nobel laureate Antony Hewish, the Cambridge University radio astronomer who constructed the radio telescope that ultimately led to the discovery of pulsars. In 1967, Professor Hewish’s graduate student, Jocelyn Bell, detected what was initially thought to be a “scruff” on the telescope’s output chart. The signal, emanating from a celestial object and pulsating regularly, was eventually recognized as a rapidly rotating neutron star — aptly dubbed a “pulsar.” Dame Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, as she is known today, will also be presenting a public lecture at the conference on the evening of August 14.

The five-day gathering of over 170 eminent scientists from around the world will explore topics ranging from magnetars to binary pulsars to millisecond pulsars, and will share personal recollections of important moments in pulsar history. The event will conclude with a lecture by Princeton astrophysicist Joseph Taylor, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the discovery of the first pulsar in a binary system, a discovery that opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation and relativity.

The conference will be co-chaired by McGill astrophysicists Vicky Kaspi, Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology and Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics, and Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Andrew Cumming. Renowned for her exceptional work on neutron stars, pulsars and supernovae remnants, Professor Kaspi is an R. Howard Webster Foundation Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

This event is being generously supported by the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, McGill’s Faculty of Science and the McGill physics department.

On the Web:
40 Years of Pulsars: Millisecond Pulsars, Magnetars and More

Conference program

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