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Rubin, Vera C., 1928-2016
Oral history interview with Vera C. Rubin, 1989 April 3.
Interview discusses Vera Rubin's childhood experience looking at the stars; influence and encouragement of parents; early reading in science; influence and importance of Maria Mitchell; education at Vassar; graduate work at Cornell; discouragement from going into science at Cornell; influence of Martha Stahr (now M. S. Carpenter); masters thesis on large-scale motion of galaxies; motivation in thesis work; problem of coming into science from a nontraditional background; community reception of masters thesis work; experience of delivering a paper at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in 1951 while nursing a newborn; community resistance to idea of a bulk rotation of galaxies; graduate work at Georgetown; exclusion of wives from the Applied Physics Laboratory; influence of George Gamow; reasons why Rubin did not continue her work on large-scale motions; Rubin's dislike for work that is controversial; support and influence of Rubin's husband; thesis work on correlation of galaxies; different kinds of geniuses in science; personality and style of Gamow; motivation of work on rotation curves of galaxies; importance of Kent Ford's spectrograph; Rubin's preference for problems that few other people are interested in; history of discovery of flat rotation curves and implications for dark matter; initial reaction (and surprise) to discovery of dark matter; community reaction to discovery of flat rotation curves; attitude toward the horizon problem; attitude toward the progress of science; attitude toward the flatness problem; attitude toward the inflationary universe model; reaction to de Lapparent, Geller, and Huchra's work on large-scale inhomogeneities; Rubin's belief that there are many things we don't know; importance of work to determine what motions of galaxies should be; visualization in science; relation between theory and observation; outstanding problems in cosmology; dark matter; experience of women in science; cultural conditioning of gender differences at an early age; Rubin's own experiences with gender discrimination in science; ideal design of the universe; question of whether the universe has a point.
M.A. in astronomy from Cornell University (1951); Ph.D. in astronomy from Georgetown University (1954); staff member at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution since 1965; member of the National Academy of Science; her scientific work has centered on galaxies including large-scale motion in the universe and the rotational dynamics of individual galaxies.
Gamow, George, 1904-1968
Geller, Margaret J.
Huchra, John P.
Mitchell, Maria, 1818-1889.
Rubin, Vera C., 1928-2016
Stahr, Martha Elizabeth, 1910-2004
American Astronomical Society
Cornell University
Georgetown University.
Vassar College.
Dark matter (Astronomy)
Inflationary universe.
Large scale structure (Astronomy)
Women in astronomy.
Women in science
Interviews. aat
Oral histories. aat
Transcripts. aat
Lightman, Alan P., 1948-, interviewer.
American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA