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The Belknap Press
11 February 2021
The first biography of a pioneering scientist who made significant contributions to our understanding of dark matter and championed the advancement of women in science.

One of the great lingering mysteries of the universe is dark matter. Scientists are not sure what it is, but most believe it's out there, and in abundance. The astronomer who finally convinced many of them was Vera Rubin. When Rubin died in 2016, she was regarded as one of the most influential astronomers of her era. Her research on the rotation of spiral galaxies was groundbreaking, and her observations contributed significantly to the confirmation of dark matter, a most notable achievement.

In Vera Rubin: A Life, prolific science writers Jacqueline Mitton and Simon Mitton provide a detailed, accessible overview of Rubin's work, showing how she leveraged immense curiosity, profound intelligence, and novel technologies to help transform our understanding of the cosmos. But Rubin's impact was not limited to her contributions to scientific knowledge. She also helped to transform scientific practice by promoting the careers of women researchers. Not content to be an inspiration, Rubin was a mentor and a champion. She advocated for hiring women faculty, inviting women speakers to major conferences, and honoring women with awards that were historically the exclusive province of men.

Rubin's papers and correspondence yield vivid insights into her life and work, as she faced down gender discrimination and met the demands of family and research throughout a long and influential career. Deftly written, with both scientific experts and general readers in mind, Vera Rubin is a portrait of a woman with insatiable curiosity about the universe who never stopped asking questions and encouraging other women to do the same.
By:   ,
Foreword by:  
Imprint:   The Belknap Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   666g
ISBN:   9780674919198
ISBN 10:   067491919X
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jacqueline Mitton has published over thirty books on astronomy and is a past editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association. In 1990 the International Astronomical Union named Asteroid 4027 Mitton in recognition of her and Simon Mitton. 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 Fellow and a former Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Reviews for Vera Rubin: A Life

By far the most comprehensive review of Vera Rubin's career and all the factors that shaped it. A must read.--Sandra Faber, astronomer and University Professor, University of California Observatories I will never forget the friendly, reassuring presence of Vera Rubin in the front row at my first presentation for the American Astronomical Society, when I was a graduate student. This superb book brings alive her grace and relentless study of the rotation curves of galaxies, as well as her push for women to succeed and excel in astronomy and astrophysics. This book firmly cements Rubin's place within the history of astronomy.--Carolyn Collins Petersen, author of The Discovery of the Universe This book is fascinating. We see Vera Rubin navigate a varied set of circumstances--in her family, in society, and in the scientific community--which culminated in a US National Observatory being named after her. It's a story that will keep you reading, eagerly, to the last page.--Jay Pasachoff, astronomer and coauthor of The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium In this enchanting and engaging biography, Jacqueline and Simon Mitton have captured Vera Rubin's exceptional life, unconventional career trajectory, and enduring scientific legacy. Rubin was an inspiring astronomer and human being whom I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know early in my career. This celebration of her work and life is most welcome and timely.--Priyamvada Natarajan, astrophysicist and author of Mapping the Heavens


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