Remembering Vera

Vera Rubin provided the first observational evidence that supported of the existence of dark matter—the invisible material that makes up more than 80 percent of the mass of the universe.
Vera Rubin at Lowell Observatory with Kent Ford in white helmet.
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1965: First woman staff scientist on campus

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1970s: Discovered evidence for dark matter

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1993: Received the U.S. National Medal of Science

Vera Rubin In Memoriam

Renowned astronomer and National Medal of Science awardee Vera Rubin passed away in Princeton, NJ, on the evening of December 25, 2016, at the age of 88.

Rubin provided the first observational evidence in support of the existence of dark matter—the invisible material that makes up more than 80 percent of the mass of the universe. She was also an ardent feminist, advocating for women observers at the Palomar Observatory, women at the Cosmos Club, and at Princeton, and she even advised the Pope advocating for more women in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

She was a retired staff astronomer at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, DC. (Note: The Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM recently merged with the Geophysical Laboratory to form the Earth and Planets Laboratory.)

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An Interesting Voyage

My life has been an interesting voyage. I became an astronomer because I could not imagine living on Earth and not trying to understand how the Universe works.

WRITTEN BY VERA C. RUBIN // ANNUAL REVIEW OF ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS Vol.49:1-28 (Volume publication date September 2011)
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Daniel Kelpsch photo 2021