History That Natters capital campaign Back to History Center

Virginia Trimble

Virginia TrimbleVirginia Trimble has spent half of each of the last 30 years as professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine, and the other half as visiting professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland, where her late husband, Joseph Weber, the pioneer of gravitational radiation detection, was Professor of Physics from 1949 to 2000. Her current research interests include the structure and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the universe, and of the communities of scientists who study them, though she has also published a few papers in Egyptology, Jewish law, and archaeoastronomy. The total number of papers now amounts to something like 500.

Trimble is a graduate of Hollywood High School (W.61), UCLA (BA in astronomy and physics), and the California Institute of Technology (MS in physics and astronomy; PhD in astronomy). She spent a year teaching at Smith College and two years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cambridge, England, before settling down at UCI and UMd. She has received occasional prizes from the Maryland Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences (for scientific reviewing), the American Association of Physics Teachers (the Klopsteg lectureship), and other organizations. She gives about 30 assorted talks per year at conferences, other institutions, and for community groups.

At a sort of nadir in her career, Trimble was on the governing bodies of six different professional organizations, including the American Physical Society and the American Astronomical Society. She currently chairs the Commission on Astrophysics of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and is President of the Commission on Inter-Union Affairs of the International Astronomical Union, as well as serving on a handful of editorial boards, a few scientific organizing committees for upcoming conferences, and a number of advisory committees for private foundations and scientific organizations.

Recent Publications

V. Trimble & Marcus Aschwanden. Astrophysics in 2002. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 115, 514-591 (a review of highlights of research during the previous year).

"Cosmology: Man's Place in the Universe (A Deconstruction)" American Journal of Physics 70, 1175-83 (2003). The text of the Klopsteg Lecture.

"The Tabby Cat in the Picture Puzzle: Fitting Unusual Stars into Scenarios of Stellar Evolution" in J. Gallego et al. editors, Highlights of Spanish Astrophysics, Kluwer (2003) p. 1-14. Text of an invited talk at the 5th biennial meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society.

"Emergent Structure: the First Two Centuries of the First Two Eons" in S.s. Holt & C. Reynolds, eds. The Emergence of Cosmic Structure, AIP Conf. Prof. 666, 3-16 (2003). Text of the invited historical introduction at a conference in 2002.

Obituary of Jesse L. Greenstein, PASP 115, 890-896 (2003).

Division VIII: Galaxies and the Universe, in H. Rickman, ed, IAU Transactions XXVA, 301-312 (2003). Highlight of research carried out by members of the IAU over the past triennium.

"Warmed by the Sun," "Fed by the Stars" in j. Nicholls & B. Pailthorpe eds, From Zero to Infinity, Proc. of the 32nd Prof. Harry Messell School for outstanding high school seniors (held in Sydney, Australia, July 2003) The Tandem Group Pty. Limited, pp. 153-166; 167-179 (texts of lectures given at the school).

Small is as Small Does, in T.Oswalt, Ed. The Future of Small Telescopes in the New Millenium, Kluwer, p. 1-22 (2003). An overview of how telescopes now counted as small contributed many of the major astronomical discoveries of the past.

V. Trimble & Marcus Aschwanden. Astrophysics in 2003. To appear in PASP vol. 116, 2004.

How you can help: