Astronomy Pioneer Vera Rubin Dies at Age 88

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Photo: Carnegie Institute of Washington

Astronomer Vera Rubin has died at the age of 88. The pioneering scientist’s studies of galaxy rotation rates revealed evidence of dark matter. She received a B.A. from Vassar, where she was the only astronomy major at the then-all-female college, and an M.A. from Cornell University. She earned her Ph.D. at Georgetown University in 1954, where her thesis about galaxy clusters proved to be ahead of its time.

Rubin was honored with the Presidential National Medal of Science and held honorary doctorates from Creighton University, American University, Princeton University, Harvard, and Yale. An eager stargazer from childhood, the trailblazing astronomer is quoted as saying, “It is well known that I am available twenty-four hours a day to women astronomers.”

Astronomy Pioneer Vera Rubin Dies at Age 88