Nancy Grace Roman, a well-known astronomer who led the effort to launch the Hubble Space Telescope, died on December 25 at the age of 93, according to the Associated Press.
Roman was nicknamed "the mother of Hubble" for his work on the pioneering telescope, which was launched in 1990. He joined NASA's headquarters soon after the institution was founded in 1958. He was the first head of astronomy, interested in offers to make concessions to important departments of early.
An earlier astronomer, Lyman Spitzer, proposed the exploration of the idea of a space-based optical telescope in 1946, but the budget and technology needed for such a project were not available. Roman began leading talks about the idea in 1960, three decades before the instrument finally flew. He also helped spearhead Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), another instrument that orbits. [Hubble in Pictures: Astronomers’ Top Picks (Photos)]
"He made it possible to lift the initial telescope [into space] to learn what needs to be learned, "said science historian Bob Zimmerman to Space.com in 2009." As soon as the technology began to mature, he pushed for design work. His hard-nosed nature helps build a telescope. "
During decades of observation, the Hubble Space Telescope has changed the way astronomers and science lovers alike see the universe around us with amazing images.
But the Roman road to NASA's leadership is full of ordinary challenges. Even though his mother took him out during a long Michigan night to show constellations and watch northern lights, the teacher often refused his interest in mathematics and science.
"I was told early on that a woman cannot be an astronomer," he said in a video released by NASA earlier this year. In high school, his guidance counselor also does not support his academic interests. "He looked down at me and grinned, & # 39; Which woman took mathematics instead of Latin? & # 39;"
He then earned a bachelor's degree in astronomy at Swarthmore College, then completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, where his thesis advisor had ignored him for six consecutive months, Roman then said.
He left the doctor for a decade when he joined NASA. Roman retired from the agency in 1969. After retiring, he regularly talked about the importance of making astronomy fairer, and last year, he was immortalized in NASA's Lego-owned NASA set.