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Celebrating Beatrice Tinsley, a bright star of NZ astronomy

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Beatrice Hill Tinsley, a prominent theoretical astronomer in the 1960s, helped break the glass ceiling in New Zealand science. A paper about her struggles, and those of women in science more broadly, is included in a special issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand about "Finding New Zealand’s scientific heritage: Science in the 20th Century".

Journal/conference: Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Organisation/s: Royal Society Te Apārangi

Media Release

Beatrice Hill Tinsley: breaking through the glass ceiling


Beatrice Hill Tinsley was one of New Zealand’s leading scientists. A theoretical astronomer who lost her life early to melanoma, she is remembered not only for her brilliant intellect but her generous spirit and her teaching ability. This short communication presents a case study comparison of Hill Tinsley’s life experiences, as documented in the two biographies Bright Star and My Daughter Beatrice, with points raised in the recent publication Why Science is Sexist.

Through this assessment, it is demonstrated that women in the scientific community today continue to struggle with many of the obstacles that Hill Tinsley faced 40 years ago. A recognition of the pervasiveness of these issues provides a more complete picture of the scale of Hill Tinsley’s achievements, at the same time as enriching the wider narrative of the experiences of women in science


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