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Remembering Beatrice Hill Tinsley

9 Dec 2009, 23:00 UTC
Remembering Beatrice Hill Tinsley
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One of the most famous astronomers to graduate from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has undoubtedly been Beatrice Tinsley (née Hill). Beatrice was born in England in 1941 and with her parents and two sisters, Rowena and Theodora, she migrated to New Zealand in 1946.

Beatrice enrolled at the University of Canterbury in 1958 and studied mathematics, physics and chemistry. She excelled academically and was also an accomplished musician, playing the violin in chamber groups. She did BSc and MSc degrees at Canterbury, the latter in solid state physics, and then went to Texas with her new husband, Brian, and she did a PhD in astronomy in Austin. Her thesis became a pioneering study in the chemical evolution of galaxies.

Beatrice Hill graduates from the University of Canterbury with her BSc in 1960
This outline of Beatrice’s life is so short, it can’t possibly do her justice. These years were marked by academic brilliance, astonishing intellectual energy, frustration in being accepted to undertake a PhD and more frustration in finding employment at a time when women in science struggled for recognition. They were also marked by struggles to balance family and work commitments and ...

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