#Women in STEM

Google Honours Italian Astrophysicist Margherita Hack With A Doodle On Her 99th Birth Anniversary

Margherita Hack
Google honours Margherita Hack: Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Italian astrophysicist Margherita Hack’s 99th birth anniversary. The legendary Italian professor, author, astrophysicist and activist had discovered the asteroid 8558 Hack, which was named in her honour. Hack was fondly knows as “The Lady of the Stars”.

In the animated doodle, Hack is seem sitting on her chair and looking into her telescope, reflecting on her interest in satellites, asteroids and the evolution of stellar atmospheres. The asteroid 8558 Hack can be seen rotating in the background. Hack was an outspoken advocate for progressive causes, animal protection and took up the cause of women empowerment by promoting equality for all.

Hack was born in Florence, Italy, on June 12, 1922. She first took literature but later switched her major to physics. Her graduation thesis in astrophysics was on Cepheid variables, based on her studies in the Arcetri Observatory. She later became a professor of astronomy at the University of Trieste. Hack was the first female director of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory after moving to Trieste in 1964 and had earned a full professorship at the city university, also being the first woman to do so.

Besides her interest in satellites and astrophysics, her expertise also included the observation and interpretation of the spectroscopic characteristics of stars. In 1994, she was conferred the Targa Giuseppe Piazzi award for her scientific research. Her innovations at Trieste’s Observatory earned her recognition in the astronomical community, along with memberships at NASA and European Space Agency.

She was honoured with the Cortina Ulisse Prize for scientific dissemination in 1995. On her 90th birthday, the Italian government bestowed her with its highest award – the title of Dama di Gran Croce. She also authored dozens of academic papers and several books on astronomy besides launching two astronomical magazines. She passed away on June 29 in the year 2013, at the age of 91.

Feature Image Credit: google.co.in