Nancy Grace Roman, "Mother of Hubble", dies at 93

Nancy Grace Roman,

Nancy Grace Roman, "Mother of Hubble", dies at 93

She was a trailblazer for women at a time when science was considered a man's world, and she became a long-time advocate for women in science.

However, as a woman in a male-dominated field, becoming an astronomer was a challenge. She also played a leading role in NASA's first successful astronomical mission back in 1962 - the Orbiting Solar Observatory-1. After getting her astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1949, Roman joined NASA in 1959 as its first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters and remained in the role for almost twenty years until her retirement in 1979, according to NASA.

She was 93. A cousin, Laura Bates Verreau, confirmed the death but said she did not yet know the cause.

Nancy Grace Roman was the first woman to hold an executive position at NASA.

On the bright side, China conducted more launches, 38, than it has in the past, which also was more than either Russian Federation or the United States.

While working at NASA, Roman pushed for space-based astronomy, where instruments are based in space, unlike ground-based astronomy devices.

Dr. Roman (as she reportedly insisted on being called, amid a research culture still incredulous of female scientists) broke ground not only in the skies above, but here on terra firma as an early female leader in America's budding astronomical ambitions.

Dr Roman was born on May 16, 1925, in Nashville, Tennessee, the only child of Irwin Roman, a geophysicist, and Georgia (Smith) Roman, a music teacher. She received a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania in 1946 and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1949, both in astronomy.

She later joined the US Naval Research Laboratory, specialising in radio astronomy, and was recruited by Nasa in 1959, a year after it was founded. However, she continued to serve as a contractor at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland for several years and, up to until her final days, she continued to encourage young women to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Roman, who recalled founding an astronomy club at age 11, moved frequently for her father's work before landing in Baltimore, where she graduated from high school.

Her honors included the Women in Aerospace Lifetime Achievement Award and the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award.

David DeVorkin, senior curator of the National Air and Space Museum said, "She had that very, very large egalitarian view of how to make space astronomy part of astronomy and I think that is a very important legacy". Last year, Roman was also honored with a special Lego set that showed her and the Hubble Space Telescope in cute block form.

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