27 January 1941|
|Died||23 March 1981(aged 40)|
|Alma mater||University of Canterbury; University of Texas at Austin|
|Known for||evolution of galaxies|
|Notable awards||AAS Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy (1974)|
Beatrice Muriel Hill Tinsley (27 January 1941 – 23 March 1981) was a New Zealand astronomer and cosmologist whose research made fundamental contributions to the astronomical understanding of how galaxies evolve with time.
She was born Beatrice Muriel Hill in Chester, England in 1941, the middle of three sisters, and emigrated to New Zealand with her family following World War II. The family lived first in Christchurch, and then for a longer time in New Plymouth. Her father was a clergyman and Moral Re-Armer and later Mayor. While studying in Christchurch, 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 Dallas, Texas, 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.
Tinsley attended New Plymouth Girls' High School, then studied at the University of Canterbury where she completed a B.Sc. and then a Master of Science degree in 1961, with First Class Honours in Physics. Her PhD was awarded by the University of Texas in Austin in 1966, with the thesis Evolution of Galaxies and its Significance for Cosmology.
Tinsley completed pioneering theoretical studies of how populations of stars age and affect the observable qualities of galaxies. She also collaborated on basic research into models investigating whether the universe is closed or open. Her galaxy models led to the first approximation of what protogalaxies should look like.
In 1974 she received the American Astronomical Society's Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy, 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. Her last scientific paper, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal ten days before her death, was published posthumously that November, without revision.[note 1]
In 1986 the American Astronomical Society established the Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize, which recognizes "an outstanding research contribution to astronomy or astrophysics, of an exceptionally creative or innovative character." It is the only major award created by an American scientific society which honours a woman scientist. The award is not made with restriction on a candidate's citizenship or country of residency.
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 produced a play called Bright Star, about the life of Beatrice Tinsley. The Wellington Astronomical Society held telescope viewing sessions outside the theatre, on the wharf next to the Te Papa Museum.
In September 2009 the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of Canterbury established the Beatrice Tinsley Institute, which encompasses their research programs, scientific facilities, education and degree programs for astronomy and astrophysics.
- "An accelerating universe" 1975, Nature 257, 454 – 457 (9 October 1975); doi:10.1038/257454a0
- Correlation of the Dark Mass in Galaxies with Hubble type, 1981, Royal Astronomical Society, Monthly Notices, vol. 194, p. 63–75
- Relations between Nucleosynthesis Rates and the Metal Abundance, 1980, Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 89, no. 1–2, p. 246–248
- Stellar Lifetimes and Abundance Ratios in Chemical Evolution, 1979, Astrophysical Journal, Part 1, vol. 229, p. 1046–1056
- Colors as Indicators of the Presence of Spiral and Elliptical Components in N Galaxies, 1977, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, vol. 89, p. 245–250
- Surface Brightness Parameters as Tests of Galactic Evolution, 1976, Astrophysical Journal, vol. 209, p. L7–L9
- The Color-Redshift Relation for Giant Elliptical Galaxies, 1971, Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol. 12, p. 394
- Catley, Christine Cole (2006). Bright Star: Beatrice Hill Tinsley, Astronomer. Auckland: Cape Catley. ISBN 1-877340-01-4..
- Catley, Christine Cole (1970–80). "Tinsley, Beatrice Muriel Hill". Dictionary of Scientific Biography 25. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 57–61. ISBN 978-0-684-10114-9.
- Dodd, Richard J. (1984). "Appreciation: Beatrice M. Tinsley, 1941–1981". Southern Stars 30: 429–431. Bibcode:1984SouSt..30..429D..
- Faber, Sandra (1981). "Obituary: Beatrice Tinsley". Physics Today 34 (9): 110. Bibcode:1981PhT....34i.110F. doi:10.1063/1.2914734..
- Hill, Edward (1986). My Daughter Beatrice, A Personal Memoir of Dr. Beatrice Tinsley, Astronomer. New-York: American Physical Society. ISBN 0-88318-493-1..
- Guarnieri, Maria D.; Pancaldi Stagni, Maria G. (1991). "Beatrice Muriel Hill Tinsley: una vita per la scienza". Orione 11: 28–33. Bibcode:1991Ori....11...28G..
- Larson, Richard B.; Stryker, Linda L. (1982). "Beatrice Muriel Hill Tinsley". Quarterly of the Royal Astronomical Society 23. Bibcode:1982QJRAS..23..162L..
- Whineray, Scott, ed. (1985). Beatrice (Hill) Tinsley, 1941–1981, Astronomer: A Tribute in Memory of an Outstanding Physicist. Palmerston North, N.Z.: Massey University, New Zealand, Institute of Physics Education Committee..
- 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."
- "AAS Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy". Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- Tinsley, B. M. (1981). "Chemical evolution in the solar neighborhood. IV – Some revised general equations and a specific model". Astrophysical Journal 250: 758–768. Bibcode:1981ApJ...250..758T. doi:10.1086/159425.
- "Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize". American Astronomical Society. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- "Citation for (3087)". Cambridge, MA: Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- "External Review 2009" (PDF). University of Texas at Austin Department of Astronomy/McDonald Observatory. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- "Circa Theatre: Bright Star". Archived from the original on 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- "Beatrice Tinsley Institute". Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- "Mount Pickering and Mount Tinsley". Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- Mackay, Scot (20 January 2011). "Historian's mountainous goal reached". The Southland Times. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
- "The Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lectures". Retrieved 2013-04-03.
- Beatrice Hill Tinsley biography, Michele Nichols, 10 June 1998.
- New Zealand Heroes biography
- Astronomical Society of the Pacific biography
- Texas History biography
- NBR review of Circa Theater's production of the play Bright Star at the Wayback Machine (archived December 16, 2005)
- Oral History interview transcript with Beatrice Tinsley 14 June 1977, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives
- Bibliography from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
- Radio New Zealand The Stars are Comforting: The letters of Beatrice Hill Tinsley (1941–1981). Also includes an image gallery and audio of several related interviews
- New Zealand Geographic Board Report on Mount Tinsley
- Gray, Meghan. "Beatrice Tinsley". Deep Sky Videos. Brady Haran.