The inspiration for the 2005 play Bright star by Stuart Hoar was Beatrice Tinsley (1940–1981), the noted cosmologist who received her formative education in New Zealand. Dux of New Plymouth Girls’ High School at 16, Beatrice Tinsley (née Hill) was one of the leading cosmologists of the 1960s and 1970s. After completing her masters degree in physics at the University of Canterbury, she went to the United States with her husband and completed a doctorate at the University of Texas. Her ground-breaking research on the evolution of galaxies formed the basis of future studies on how galaxies develop and change over time. Soon after being appointed professor of astronomy at Yale University in 1978, she learnt she had a fatal form of cancer and died three years later. In 1986 the American Astronomical Society established the Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize for outstanding creative contributions to astronomy or astrophysics.
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