Contents of This Unit

Audio clips and accompanying text

These are central to every format of presentation. Test trials of these materials showed that in classroom use, it is best to have students read the script simultaneously with listening to the audio, rather than listen to the audio alone. Permission is granted to the instructor to make photocopies of the script for the purpose of providing every student or every pair of students with a script, for classroom use.

The exhibit can conveniently be broken into two segments. The first part includes narration and excerpts from interviews with Cocke and Disney relating the events leading up to the discovery. The second part is the audio recording of the scientists on the night of the discovery.

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George Greenstein, excerpt from Frozen Star, pg. 13-31, New American Library Trade (May 1985).

The unit includes original research papers excerpts—
Hewish, Bell, et al., "Observation of a Rapidly Pulsating Radio Source," Nature vol 217, p.709 (24 Feb. 1968).

Cocke, Disney, and Taylor, "Discovery of Optical Signals from Pulsar NP 0532," Nature vol. 221, p. 525-27 (8 Feb. 1969).

a primary resource—
extract from laboratory notes of John Cocke, night of 15 Jan. 1969.

articles on the physics of pulsars—
DiLavore and Wayland, "Pulsars for the Beginner," The Physics Teacher vol., p.232-237 (May 1971).

media account—
"Pulsar Detected Optically," Sky and Telescope, p. 135 (March 1969).

and additional readings—
Table of contents from Davies and Smith, ed., The Crab Nebula, International Astronomical Union Symposium no. 46, Aug.5-7, 1970 (Dordrecht: S. Reidel; N.Y.: Springer Verlag, 1971).

Application for time on a telescope (1983).


The unit presents suggestions for assorted activities, demonstrations, questions, problems, and experiments.

These exercises have been labeled as Discussion, Investigation, or Research.

Discussion exercises (D) require no preparation or reading by the student. These exercises can be used for class discussions or as homework assignments.

Investigation questions (I) require the reading of an article which is included in this unit, or the use of reference works such as an encyclopedia. Instructors can make the articles available for a more comprehensive assignment.

Research questions (R) require library work. Some of these exercises are quite extensive and should be treated as long-term projects.

The physics/astronomy exercises are identified as simple or complex.

A simple exercise (S) requires no background material and is a suitable class or homework assignment.

A complex exercise (C) requires that the student have access to a physics text or to some laborabory equipment.


The unit includes an annotated bibliography for instructor and student use.