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.


  • Science is competitive, aggressive, demanding. It is also imaginative, inspiring, uplifting.
    • Bright Galaxies, Dark Matters (1997), p. 219
  • 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.

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