Nancy Grace Roman - ‘Mother of Hubble’ Dies

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Nancy Grace Roman - ‘Mother of Hubble’ Dies

Postby toucana on December 31st, 2018, 5:03 am 

Dr. Nancy Grace Roman NASA's first Chief of Astronomy - 1962

Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, a former NASA executive who is often described as the “mother” of the Hubble Space Telescope, has died at 93.

Roman, a longtime employee of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was the first woman to hold an executive role at the agency, the Associated Press reported. After getting her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1949, Roman joined NASA in 1959 as its first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters and remained in the role for nearly twenty years until her retirement in 1979, according to NASA.

She was involved with such groundbreaking programs as the Cosmic Background Explorer, and as her informal title suggests, the beloved Hubble Space Telescope.

Roman is said to have consistently bucked significant barriers throughout her education and career at a time when there were few women in her field, especially at the executive level. According to the BBC, when she was at university studying for her doctorate, her supervisor refused to speak to her for the first six months simply because she was a woman.

She is most often credited with furthering much of the early development of the Hubble program, particularly as it related to funding and proposals.

Roman’s awards and honors include the Women in Aerospace’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award, and the NASA Outstanding Scientific Leadership Award.

Last year, Roman was honored as part of a fan-designed Lego set honoring women of NASA that also included pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison
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