Vera Rubin, as­tron­omy pi­o­neer on dark mat­ter, died at 88

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

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.

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