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Yvonne Elsworth elected a Fellow of the Royal Society

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 May 2015 15:40
Published on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 13:21

Prof. Yvonne Elsworth has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of her pioneering work in solar physics. She is Professor of Helioseismology and Poynting Professor of Physics at the University of Birmingham, a longstanding Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has served on a number of its committees, including the governing Council.

Prof. Yvonne Elsworth, elected a Fellow of the Royal SocietyProf. Yvonne Elsworth, elected a Fellow of the Royal SocietyProf. Elsworth is honoured for her pioneering work in establishing and maintaining an important scientific investigation into the internal structure of the Sun. This is based on helioseismic data (measuring the vibrations of the Sun) from the Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network (BiSON) of observatories. This data her to study the inner core of the Sun, where the nuclear reactions take place and hydrogen is fused into helium.

These reactions lead to the production of very lightweight particles called neutrinos, but the number detected on Earth is much lower than expected. Prof. Elsworth's work explained this deficiency as a problem in particle physics rather than in models of the Sun. It also established that the very centre of the Sun rotates no more rapidly than the surrounding regions.

She is now extending her work to stars other than the Sun and is already contributing to a transformation in our understanding of stellar evolution.

RAS President Prof. Martin Barstow offered his congratulations: "Yvonne Elsworth is one of the UK’s leading solar scientists and someone who shows how painstaking analysis can lead to radical changes in our understanding of even apparently familiar bodies like the Sun. I’m delighted that the Royal Society has given her this honour, a fitting recognition of her extraordinary talent."


Further information

Royal Society citation for Professor Yvonne Elsworth


Media contact

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Royal Astronomical Society
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Notes for editors

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organises scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognises outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3800 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

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