A British astrophysicist who was passed over for the Nobel prize for her discovery of exotic cosmic objects that light up the heavens has won the most lucrative award in modern science.
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, a visiting professor at Oxford University, was chosen by a panel of leading scientists to receive the $3m (£2.3m) special Breakthrough prize in fundamental physics for her landmark work on pulsars and a lifetime of inspiring leadership in the scientific community.
She will be handed the award at a glittering Silicon Valley gala in November where previous winners have mingled, at times rather awkwardly, with celebrities such as Kate Beckinsale, will.i.am, Cameron Diaz and Morgan Freeman.
“I have to admit I was speechless,” Bell Burnell said about hearing she had won. “This had never entered my wildest dreams. I was totally taken aback.”