More STEM Celebrations… Nancy Grace Roman, PhD Edition

Again we need to look away from the politicized moves of DC Judge Rao, and revitalize our commitment to women of science — old and new — at NASA.

So. . . this is another in our series of long ago overlooked women of STEM, now getting some well-earned recognition. In most ways, NASA’s present Hubble Space telescope might not exist — were it not for her.

She is also one of the “other” hidden figures, recently chosen to be honored with her own Lego figurine (see bottom). But first, a poem:

Dark Matter

Dark matter is a reality
not just some theory invented by adolescent computers
I can prove it exists and is everywhere

forming invisible haloes around everything
and somehow because of gravity
holding everything loosely together…

the way our mothers and fathers fondly
angrily followed fixed orbits around
each other like mice on a track

the way every human and every atom
rushes through space wrapped in its invisible
halo, this big shadow — that’s dark dark matter

sweetheart, while the galaxies
in the wealth of their ferocious protective bubbles
stare at each other

unable to cease

Alicia Ostriker

Indeed. And so, without additional ado — here is Scientific American, on it all — do go read it all:

. . . .NASA has renamed its Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a flagship observatory set to launch in 2025, to honor the renowned astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, also known as the “mother of Hubble.”

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope — or Roman Space Telescope for short — will help astronomers answer some of the biggest questions of cosmology, like why the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.

By studying how the distribution of galaxies throughout the universe has changed over time, the telescope will reveal how the universe’s expansion is driven by dark energy, a mysterious form of energy that makes up roughly two-thirds of the energy in the universe. . . .

Now you know — onward, and be excellent to one another. . . smile.


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