Vera Rubin

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Vera Rubin (23 July 192825 December 2016) was an American astronomer who pioneered work on galaxy rotation rates. Her opus magnus was the uncovering of the discrepancy between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion, by studying galactic rotation curves. This phenomena became known as the galaxy rotation problem.

Quotes[edit]

  • Science is competitive, aggressive, demanding. It is also imaginative, inspiring, uplifting.
    • Bright Galaxies, Dark Matters (1997), p. 219
  • There is one alternative to dark matter, and that is the assumption that Newton's laws don't hold over distances as great as galaxies. But we know that Newton's laws hold over a very large domain. And virtually one hundred percent of the physics and astronomy community believes that there is matter in the universe that does not radiate.
  • Science progresses best when observations force us to alter our preconceptions.
  • It is well known that I am available twenty-four hours a day to women astronomers.
  • How stars move tell us that most matter in the universe is dark. When we see stars in the sky, we're only seeing five or 10 percent of the matter that there is in the universe.
  • I'm not a theologian, and I must say honestly that Vatican astronomers' views [on astronomy] are entirely in accord with ours. I'm not aware of any Church positions that contradict modern science. In my own life, my science and my religion are separate. I'm Jewish, and so religion to me is a kind of moral code and a kind of history. I try to do my science in a moral way, and, I believe that, ideally, science should be looked upon as something that helps us understand our role in the universe.

Quotes about Vera Rubin[edit]

    • To my mind, what Vera discovered is both more specific and more profound than the dark matter paradigm it helped to create. What she discovered observationally is that rotation curves are very nearly flat, and continue to be so to indefinitely large radius. Over and over again, for every galaxy in the sky. It is a law of nature for galaxies, akin to Kepler’s laws for planets. Dark matter is an inference, a subsidiary result. It is just one possible interpretation, a subset of amazing and seemingly unlikely possibilities opened up by her discovery.
    • Stacy McGaugh. Ode to Vera Rubin, Triton Station — A Blog About the Science and Sociology of Cosmology and Dark Matter. (14 January 2017)

External links[edit]

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