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Beatrice Tinsley

Beatrice Tinsley

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Beatrice Muriel Hill Tinsley (27 January 1941 – 23 March 1981) was a New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 astronomer
Astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 and cosmologist whose research made fundamental contributions to the astronomical understanding of how galaxies evolve with time.

Life


She was born Beatrice Muriel Hill in Chester
Chester
Chester is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 77,040 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in 1941, the middle of three sisters, and emigrated to New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 with her family following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The family lived first in Christchurch
Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second-largest urban area after Auckland. It lies one third of the way down the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of...

, and then for a longer time in New Plymouth
New Plymouth
New Plymouth is the major city of the Taranaki Region on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is named after Plymouth, Devon, England, from where the first English settlers migrated....

. Her father was a clergyman and Moral Re-Armer
Moral Re-Armament
Moral Re-Armament was an international Christian moral and spiritual movement that, in 1938, developed from the American minister Frank Buchman's Oxford Group. Buchman, a Lutheran, headed MRA for 23 years, from 1938 until his death in 1961...

 and later Mayor. While studying in Christchurch
Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second-largest urban area after Auckland. It lies one third of the way down the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of...

, she married physicist and university classmate Brian Tinsley, not knowing that this would prevent her from working at the University while he was employed there. They moved in 1963 to the United States, to Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, but she was similarly restricted there. In 1974, after years of attempting to balance home, family and two commuting careers, she left her husband and two adopted children to take a position as assistant professor at Yale. She worked there until her death from cancer in the Yale Infirmary in 1981. Her ashes are buried in the campus cemetery.

Education


Tinsley attended New Plymouth Girls' High School, then studied at the University of Canterbury
University of Canterbury
The University of Canterbury , New Zealand's second-oldest university, operates its main campus in the suburb of Ilam in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand...

 where she completed a B.Sc. and then a Master of Science degree in 1961, with First Class Honours in Physics. Her PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 was awarded by the University of Texas in Austin in 1966, with the thesis Evolution of Galaxies and its Significance for Cosmology.

Professional activity



Tinsley completed pioneering theoretical studies of how populations of stars age and affect the observable qualities of galaxies
Galaxy
A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system that consists of stars and stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust, and an important but poorly understood component tentatively dubbed dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias , literally "milky", a...

. She also collaborated on basic research into models investigating whether the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 is closed or open. Her galaxy models led to the first approximation of what protogalaxies
Protogalaxy
In physical cosmology, a protogalaxy, which could also be called a "primeval galaxy", is a cloud of gas which is forming into a galaxy. It is believed that the rate of star formation, during this period of galactic evolution, will determine whether a galaxy is a spiral or elliptical galaxy; a...

 should look like.

In 1974 she received the American Astronomical Society
American Astronomical Society
The American Astronomical Society is an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC...

's Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy
Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy
The Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy is awarded annually by the American Astronomical Society to a woman resident of North America, who is within five years of receipt of a Ph.D., for distinguished contributions to astronomy or for similar contributions in related sciences which have immediate...

, awarded for "outstanding research and promise for future research by a postdoctoral woman researcher", in recognition of her work on galaxy evolution.

In 1977, Tinsley, with Richard Larson of Yale, organised a conference on 'The Evolution of Galaxies and Stellar Populations'.

Shortly after, in 1978, she became a professor of astronomy at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. Her last scientific paper, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal
Astrophysical Journal
The Astrophysical Journal is a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering astronomy and astrophysics. It was founded in 1895 by the American astronomers George Ellery Hale and James Edward Keeler. It publishes three 500-page issues per month....

 ten days before her death, was published posthumously that November, without revision.The editor's note: "Deceased on 1981 March 23, thus ending prematurely a distinguished career. The text of this last paper was not revised, although Michele Kaufman kindly added some clarifying definitions and comments."

Tributes



In 1986 the American Astronomical Society established the Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize
Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize
The Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize is awarded every other year by the American Astronomical Society in recognition of an outstanding research contribution to astronomy or astrophysics of an exceptionally creative or innovative character...

, which recognizes "an outstanding research contribution to astronomy or astrophysics, of an exceptionally creative or innovative character." The award is not made with restriction on a candidate's citizenship or country of residency.

The main-belt
Asteroid belt
The asteroid belt is the region of the Solar System located roughly between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. It is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets...

 asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 3087 Beatrice Tinsley
3087 Beatrice Tinsley
3087 Beatrice Tinsley is a main-belt asteroid discovered on August 30, 1981 by Alan C. Gilmore and Pamela M. Kilmartin at Mount John.- External links :*...

, discovered in 1981 at Mt John University Observatory near Tekapo, is also named after her.

The University of Texas at Austin established from endowment in 1989 the Beatrice M. Tinsley Centennial Visiting Professorship, where a distinguished mid career or senior professor is invited to visit for up to a semester. In 2007 they added the Tinsley Scholars, awards for younger researchers to briefly visit Austin.

In 2005, the Circa Theatre in Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

 produced a play called Bright Star
Bright Star
Bright star may refer to:* Bright Star , 2009 feature about the life of poet John Keats** "Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art", the sonnet from which the film takes its name* Bright Star , 1950s US drama series...

, about the life of Beatrice Tinsley. The Wellington Astronomical Society held telescope viewing sessions outside the theatre, on the wharf next to Te Papa
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand, located in Wellington. It is branded and commonly known as Te Papa and Our Place; "Te Papa Tongarewa" is broadly translatable as "the place of treasures of this land".The museum's principles...

.

In September 2009 the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of Canterbury
University of Canterbury
The University of Canterbury , New Zealand's second-oldest university, operates its main campus in the suburb of Ilam in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand...

 established the Beatrice Tinsley Institute, which encompasses their research programs, scientific facilities, education and degree programs for astronomy and astrophysics.

In December 2010 the New Zealand Geographic Board
New Zealand Geographic Board
The New Zealand Geographic Board is constituted under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 2008, formerly under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946. Although an independent institution, it is responsible to the Minister for Land Information...

 officially named a mountain in Fiordland
Fiordland
Fiordland is a geographic region of New Zealand that is situated on the south-western corner of the South Island, comprising the western-most third of Southland. Most of Fiordland is dominated by the steep sides of the snow-capped Southern Alps, deep lakes and its ocean-flooded, steep western valleys...

's Kepler Mountains (which are named for the astronomer Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers, based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican...

) as Mt Tinsley.

Selected publications


External links


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