Sir Robert Dennis, JP (died 1592) of Holcombe Burnell in Devon, was a Member of Parliament for Devon in 1555 and served as Sheriff of Devon.

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Graduate student Jocelyn Bell Burnell and her supervisor, Antony Hewish, built a radio telescope to observe quasars in 1967. Their discovery won the 1974 Nobel Prize – for Hewish. 50 years later, Burnell was awarded $3 Million in the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics