Thursday , May 6 2021

Nancy Roman, the astronomer celebrated as the "mother" of Hubble

Roman spent most of his career helping develop, finance and promote technology that would help scientists to see more clearly outside the Earth's atmosphere.

"For a long time, astronomers wanted to receive observations above the atmosphere. Looking through the atmosphere looks a bit like looking through a piece of old, painted glass, "Roman told Voice of America in 2011. "Glass has drawbacks, so the picture is blurred."

NASA acknowledged that she was leading what she described as "the first successful astronomical mission of the agency," the launch of the Orbiting Solar Observatory-1 in 1962 to measure, among other things, electromagnetic radiation of the sun.

He also co-ordinated with scientists and engineers for the successful launch of geodesic satellites used for Earth metering and mapping, and several astronomical observatory in orbits that offered early insight into discoveries that could be sparked by broadcasting observation technology outside the sailing atmosphere.

But it was perhaps most related to early work on Hubble Space Telescope, the first large telescope sent to the universe to collect photographs and data from the universe. It is believed that Hubble has given the most significant astronomical observations since Galileo began using the telescope at the beginning of the 17th century.

The design and launch of Hubble was full of scientific, financial and bureaucratic difficulties Roman tried to solve. Lobbying for early funding for Hubble, whose $ 1.5 billion dollar bid has come, reminded her of the claim that any American, for the price of one movie ticket, could be safe in long-standing scientific discoveries.

The Hubble Space Telescope was subjected to a final review in 1989 before launch.

The Hubble Space Telescope was subjected to a final review in 1989 before launch.Credit:SMH

"In the 1960s and early 1970s, NASA did not have anyone who would be more important in getting the first designs and concepts for Hubble funded," wrote space scientist Robert Zimmerman in The universe in the mirrora view of Hubble's emergence. – More importantly, it was [Dr. Roman] more than anyone who has convinced the astronomical community to stand behind astronomy in the universe. "

The Telescope was not launched until 1990, more than a decade after Roman retired, but when that happened, his cosmic photos inspired the world.

In 1994, when NASA announced the repair of the defective mirror and other problems that caused the blurry of early photographs, Roman was in the crowd, sobbing.

Edward J. Weiler, then Hubble's chief scientist, was surprised by recognizing the public, according to Zimmerman's report. "If Lyman Spitzer was the father of Hubble Space Telescope," said Weiler, thinking of a prominent astrophysicist, "then Nancy Roman was her mother."

Nancy Grace Roman was born in Nashville on May 16, 1925. Her father was a geophysicist with the US Geological Institute. Her mother was a former music teacher and a lover of nature, who watched her daughter out of the night at the stars.

Roman, who recalled the founding of the astronomical club at the age of 11, often moved to his father's work before landing in Baltimore, where he completed high school. She graduated from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania in 1946 and received a doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1949, as in astronomy.

After his early work at the University of Chicago and the Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, he was employed by the Laboratory for Shipbuilding in 1955, working in radio astronomy. NASA was founded three years later, with Roman among its first employees. He spent the last part of his career at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where he oversaw the Astronomical Data Center.

Her honor was awarded the Women in Aviation Lifetime Achievement and NASA's award for outstanding scientific achievements. She helped to promote women's professional opportunities through the American Women's Association at universities and often spoke in schools to encourage children to cope with the challenges of science.

Dr. Roman lived in Chevy Chase, Martyland. At the time of his death and had no immediate survivors.

In 2017 Lego released a set of figurines in honor of four pioneering NASA women: Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to the universe; Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in the universe; Margaret Hamilton, a computer programmer who created the software needed for Apollo missions; and Dr. Roman.

"Nice to meet you," she said once Science magazine, "I ignored many people who told me they could not be an astronomer."

Washington Post

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