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Made at the Library: Vera Rubin, Trailblazing Astronomer and Advocate for Women in Science

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Join us for a conversation with authors Jacqueline Mitton and Simon Mitton about their new biography, Vera Rubin: A Life (Harvard University Press, 2021). The book tells the story of how celebrated scientist Vera Rubin (1928-2016) became one of the most influential astronomers of her era and a powerful advocate for greater inclusion of women in the sciences.

Rubin’s tireless work during the 1960s and 1970s produced groundbreaking research on the rotation of spiral galaxies and observational evidence confirming the existence of dark matter. As a longtime staff astronomer at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Rubin became a mentor to and champion of younger generations of scientists, especially women astronomers. Her work was recognized by her election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1981 and receipt of the National Medal of Science in 1993. In 1996, she became the first woman to receive the Royal Astronomical Society’s Gold Medal since 1828.

Jacqueline Mitton has published more than thirty books on astronomy and is a past editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association. Simon Mitton is Life Fellow at St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. He has written more than a dozen books on astronomy and the history of science and is a fellow and former vice-president of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The discussion, moderated by Manuscript Division historian Josh Levy and senior archives specialist Karen Linn Femia, will demonstrate how researchers access, search for, and discover relevant materials within the Library’s holdings and draw conclusions and arguments from historical documents. The Manuscript Division is home to the Vera C. Rubin Papers, consisting of 86,000 items arranged in 259 boxes.

The event will take place online only on Thursday, June 16, 2022, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT. Register for the program here.

Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].

Made at the Library is an event series highlighting works inspired by and emerging from research at the Library of Congress. Featuring authors, artists and other creators in conversation with Library experts, this series takes a deep dive into the process of working with the Library’s collections.


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