Biography of Astronomer, Vera Cooper Rubin

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Vera Rubin Biography - Vera Cooper Rubin was born July 23, 1928 in Philadelphia, PA. Her father was Philip Cooper, an electrical engineer, and her mother Rose. She first developed an interest in astronomy at the age of 10 while stargazing from her home in Washington D.C. Her father encouraged her to follow her dreams and took her to amateur astronomer meetings. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Vassar University in 1948 of which she was the only astronomy major that year. Later she earned her master’s from Cornell in 1950 with her masters’ thesis was controversial and centered around the possibility of bulk rotation by looking for “sideways” motion of galaxies. She finally got her Ph.D. from Georgetown University in 1954. Her doctoral thesis was on the clustering of galaxies and how she describes the definite clumping and not random distribution throughout the sky. She had attempted to enroll in Princeton for her master’s degree, but at the time women were not allowed in the graduate astronomy program. She was married in 1948 to Robert Rubin and has four children all with Doctorate degrees. Awards and Achievements- Vera has received numerous awards including the 1993 Presidential National Medal of Science, the 1994 Dickenson Prize in Science from Carnegie-Mellon University, the 1994 Russell Lectureship Prize of the American Astronomical Society, in 2004 the National Academy of Sciences’ James Craig Watson Medal1, in 2002 Cosmology Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation, in 1996 the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (London) , in 2003 the Bruce Medal for lifetime achievement in astronomy , the Richtmyer Award in 2008 , the Weizmann Women and Science Award in 1996 , and in 1994 the Karl G. Jansky Lectureship award .... ... middle of paper ... of women in the sciences. She has been outspoken on the need for more females in the National Academy of Science, on review panels, and for greater recognition for the works that women have done in science. When she first burst onto the scientific scene with her evidence of Zwicky’s theory, she paved the way for other women to enter the scientific community. Yet despite this, she continues to fight with the National Academy of Sciences and continues to be dissatisfied over the number of women who are elected each year. She claims it is the saddest part of her life and says, "Thirty years ago, I thought everything was possible." Remembering what it was like to be a lone woman staring at galaxies, Vera Rubin considers it a responsibility and a privilege to be a mentor. “It is well known,” she says, “that I am available twenty-four hours a day to women astronomers.”
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