WASHINGTON, December 30th. (Xinhua). Nancy Grace Roman, commonly known as the “Hubble's Mother” due to her key contribution to the development and creation of the space telescope, died at the age of 93 years.
On Thursday, cousin Laura Verro confirmed that Roman died on Christmas Day after a long illness, reports the Associated Press on Friday.
Roman was the first astronomy director at NASA's space science office, the first woman to occupy a leadership position in an agency. She was also the lifelong champion of women in science.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1925, Roman had a great interest in science since childhood and said that her parents had greatly inspired her.
Roman's father was a geophysicist who answered her scientific questions. Her mother, a music teacher and a nature enthusiast, often took her out at night to show her constellations and radiance. By the age of 11, Roman had already formed an astronomical club and began to independently study astronomy.
However, women were discouraged from studying mathematics and science. In a video released by NASA in February, Roman recalled that her high school adviser taunted her and asked, "What kind of woman will take math instead of Latin?" She also remembered that her supervisor at the University of Chicago once ignored her for six months in a row.
Without succumbing to such barriers and prejudices, Roman received her doctoral degree in astronomy at the University of Chicago in 1949 and joined the novice NASA in 1959.
While at NASA, Roman's pioneering work on turning the Hubble Space Telescope into reality earned her the nickname “Mother Hubble”.
Roman began planning the Hubble Space Telescope 30 years before its launch. She created a committee of astronomers and engineers from NASA, which ultimately led to the detailed design of the space telescope.
Thanks to her efforts, Hubble was launched in 1990 and has been operating for 28 years, providing scientists with many high-resolution images for a more detailed study of the universe.
The novel worked at NASA for about twenty years, until retirement in 1979. She then continued to work as a contractor at the Goddard Space Flight Center, a large NASA space research laboratory in Greenbelt, Maryland.
“It’s hard to decide how the story will look at my accomplishments,” Roman said humbly in the video. “People, as a rule, are not very interested in how it all begins. And therefore I am not sure that they will have an idea of my role. ”