Beatrice Hill Tinsley in 1977

Beatrice Hill Tinsley in 1977

Beatrice Hill Tinsley was a Professor of Astronomy at Yale University when she died, aged 40, of melanoma in 1981. Until she came on the scene, people believed that galaxies were fixed, immobile and unchanging in the universe. She discovered (among many other things) that galaxies are both changing and interacting with one another. She proved that the universe is still evolving.

Born in England, her family came to New Zealand when she was 5. She was educated first in New Plymouth and then at the University of Canterbury. In 1961 she married Brian Tinsley. In 1963 they travelled to the USA, where they remained

Beatrice was celebrated for her work as a synthesiser, the bringing together of apparently unrelated and individual scraps and strands of knowledge and theory, to help create a whole.

These Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lectures are our way of celebrating the life and work of this extraordinarily appealing and altogether remarkable young woman.

The Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lectures are administered by the RASNZ Lecture Trust who may be contacted by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Beatrice Hill Tinsley 2017 Lecture tour.

The Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lecturer Trust is hard at work arranging the 2017 lecture tour.

Previous Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lecturers

Dr. Michael Person, Research Astronomer in MIT's Planetary Astronomy Laboratory, and Director of MIT's George R. Wallace Astrophysical Observatory.

He gave nine lectures entitled "The Science of Pluto" discussing the history of Pluto science starting with the discovery of Pluto, through the discovery and characterization of its atmosphere and moons, to provide context to the discoveries of 2015. Focusing on his own experiences aboard the SOFIA aircraft, and the New Horizons flyby, he discussed the explosion of Pluto knowledge during 2015/2016, and its context in our understanding of the outer solar system..

Prof. Gerry Gilmore, Professor of Experimental Philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University, UK.  His main focus is near-field cosmology. This is the use of precision studies of kinematics, dynamics, stellar populations, chemical abundances, ... for the oldest systems in the local universe to deduce the fundamental properties of structure formation and the nature of dark matter in the early Universe.

He gave five lectures, entitled either "Gaia: mapping the Milky Way from Space", or "Astronomy, Cosmology and the Big Questions in Nature ".
Prof. Tamara Davis, physics honours and post graduate coursework coordinator at the School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Queensland, is a cosmologist interested in investigating new fundamental physics such as the properties of dark energy, dark matter and the mass of the neutrino.

She gave ten lectures; four of which were to school students, entitled either "The Dark Side", or "Cosmological Confusion".
Dr. Karen Masters is an Astronomy researcher at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth, UK.  She’s the Project Scientist for Galaxy Zoo, and also involved in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (especially MaNGA).  She’s also a member of the Dark Energy Survey and Euclid.  

She gave five lectures entitled "A Zoo of Galaxies".
Prof. Clive Ruggles, Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester, UK.

He gave four lectures entitled "Ancient Astronomies - Ancient Worlds".