Nancy Grace Roman, a famous astronomer who led the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, died on December 25 at the age of 93, according to The Associated Press.
The novel was nicknamed "Hubble's mother" for her work on an innovative telescope launched in 1990. She arrived at NASA headquarters shortly after the agency was founded in 1958. She was the first head of astronomy, attracted to the proposal to be able to create such a key department from scratch.
The previous astronomer, Lyman Spitzer, proposed to study the idea of a space optical telescope in 1946, but the budget and technology needed for such a project were not available. Roman began to negotiate this idea in 1960, three decades before the instrument finally took off. She also helped lead the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), another orbital instrument. [Hubble in Pictures: Astronomers’ Top Picks (Photos)]
"She allowed to get early telescopes [into space] to find out what needs to be learned, ”science historian Bob Zimmerman told Space.com in 2009.“ As soon as this technology began to mature, it began to develop a project. Her stubborn nature helped build the telescope. "
Over the decades of observation, the Hubble Space Telescope has changed the way that astronomers and science lovers alike see the universe around us with its amazing images.
But Roman's path to the leadership of NASA was full of ordinary problems. Although her mother took her outside during the long nights in Michigan to point out the constellations and watch the northern lights, teachers often rejected her interest in math and science.
“From the very beginning I was told that a woman cannot be an astronomer,” she said in a video published by NASA earlier this year. In high school, her counselor also did not support her academic interests. "She looked at me with her nose and grinned:" What kind of woman will take math instead of Latin? "
She later received a bachelor's degree in astronomy from Swarthmore College, then received a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, where her supervisor once ignored her for six months in a row, Roman said later.
She was a decade away from her doctorate when she joined NASA. Roman left the agency in 1969. After retirement, she regularly talked about the importance of making astronomy more equitable, and last year she was immortalized in the Lego set of Women from NASA.