Vera Rubin, astronomy pioneer on dark matter, died at 88
PRINCETON | Vera Rubin, a pioneering astronomer who helped find powerful evidence of dark matter, has died, her son said Monday. She was 88.
Allan Rubin, a professor of geosciences at Princeton University, said his mother died Sunday night of natural causes. He said the Philadelphia native had been living in the Princeton area.
Vera Rubin found that galaxies don’t quite rotate the way they were predicted, and that lent support to the theory that some other force was at work, namely dark matter.
Dark matter, which hasn’t been directly observed, makes up 27 percent of universe — as opposed to 5 percent of the universe being normal matter. Scientists better understand what dark matter isn’t rather than what it is.
Ms. Rubin’s scientific achievements earned her numerous awards and honors, including a National Medal of Science presented by President Clinton in 1993 “for her pioneering research programs in observational cosmology.”
She also became the second female astronomer to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences.