Women Leaders in Astronomy

Women Leaders in Astronomy

March Photos of the Month

It is March again, which means it is Women’s History Month! This year is also the 125th Anniversary of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). As we hold the archives of the AAS and several photographs of astronomers from AAS meetings in the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some women astronomers who have served leadership roles within the AAS and other astronomical organizations.

While women have been members of the American Astronomical Society since its foundation in 1899 and currently make up approximately 30% of new doctorates to the field, almost 10% more than Physics, much of this growth has been within the last 50 years (see Fig. 14 in AIP Statistics’ report Women in Physics and Astronomy, 2019). In 1973, only 8% of the American Astronomical Society members were women and very few women held tenured faculty positions in astronomy or had leadership roles within the AAS. 

The women featured in this Photos of the Month are just some of the leaders who broke barriers and served as role models and advocates for advancing the representation and status of women in the field. Many of the women were actively involved with the efforts to advance the status of women in astronomy through involvement with AAS Working Group and Committee for the Status of Women in Astronomy in the 1970s and signatories of the Baltimore Charter for Women in Astronomy in 1992. 

Early Trailblazers (1899-1971)

Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941)

Annie Jump Cannon centered in the front row in white with Edward C. Pickering to her right at an undated American Astronomical Society meeting

Annie Jump Cannon centered in the front row in white with Edward C. Pickering to her right at an undated American Astronomical Society meeting. AAS E11 (Catalog ID). Credit Line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives 

One of the most notable female figures in the early days of the American Astronomical Society was Dr. Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941). Serving as treasurer to the AAS from 1912-1919, she was the first (and only) female officer on the executive board for the American Astronomical Society until the 1950s. She can be seen in the above photo at an early AAS meeting, front and center next to Edward Pickering, director of the Harvard College Observatory.

Cannon spent most of her life working at the Harvard College Observatory (HCO), first hired in 1896 as an assistant computer identifying stars on photographic plates. During her nearly 40 years at the HCO, she helped develop the Harvard Spectral Classification and published several catalogs of stars, including a revision of the Henry Draper catalog (225,300 stars) using her own measurements. Due to Harvard’s policy against hiring women at the time, Cannon worked in an unofficial capacity most of her life, under various titles such as Assistant and Curator of Astronomical Photographs, despite the scientific contributions she made to the field in spectroscopy which garnered world-wide recognition and praise by male peers who described her “as the greatest living expert in this area of investigation”. It was not until 1938 that she was finally given the official position of the William Cranch Bond Astronomer.

Throughout her career, Cannon served as a mentor to many young women pursuing astronomy degrees, traveling to give lectures at women’s colleges and using her influence to help students at Radcliffe gain research experience at the Observatory (Harvard did not grant graduate degrees to women in the Physical Sciences). After winning the Ellen Richards Prize from the Association to Aid Scientific Research for Women in 1931, Cannon used the prize money to establish the Annie Jump Cannon Award through the American Astronomical Society to honor the contributions to the field made by women astronomers. 

Today, the AAS awards the Annie Jump Cannon Award triennially to women astronomers who accomplish outstanding research in their post-doctoral years. See our 2020 March POTM for more on past award winners.

Charlotte Moore Sitterly (1898-1990)

Charlotte Moore Sitterly (1898-1990) was the first female vice-president of the American Astronomical Society from 1958-1960 and first female officer of the AAS since Annie Jump Cannon’s appointment ended in 1919. Moore Sitterly began her career in astronomy fresh out of college as a human computer for Henry Norris Russell at Princeton in 1920. She worked with Russell for many years, pausing to work at Mount Willison and complete her PhD at Berkeley in the 1930s (Princeton did not accept women to graduate study) before returning to work as a research assistant with Russell on solar spectroscopy.

In 1945, she joined the National Bureau of Standards, where she worked most of her career (see photo above). In the late 40s and 50s she published a series of Multiplet Tables of atomic spectra which served as essential references for decades and was one of the accomplishments she was most proud of. She was awarded the Annie Jump Cannon Award in 1937 and the William F. Meggers Award from the Optical Society of America in 1972. She was also elected the first woman associate of the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain in 1949 and fellow of the Optical Society of America in 1959.  Moore Sitterly was active in AAS throughout her life and describes attending AAS meetings with Henry Norris Russell in the 1950s in her oral history: 

They were like family affairs; we enjoyed them, we knew people. You would go in and feel as if you belonged and you knew about everybody. It was more like a close gathering of people with a common interest. You didn’t have the overpowering effect of these great big meetings with simultaneous sessions. You could see people and talk to them. I think they were much nicer then than they are now. Much nicer, because they were smaller. I remember when the radio astronomers came in I felt it very keenly at the meetings. I thought this is not like it used to be. And that was only a small group compared to what they have now.

Oral History:
Interview of Charlotte Moore Sitterly by David DeVorkin on 1978 June 15, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/4784

Further Resources:
Obituary by Nancy Grace Roman in Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society vol. 23 no. 4, p. 1492-1494 (1991) https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1991BAAS...23.1492R/abstract
Tribute by Vera Rubin in the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage Vol. 13, No. 2, p. 145-148 (2010) https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2010JAHH...13..145R/abstract

Helen Sawyer Hogg (1905-1993)

Portrait of Hogg smiling wearing a pearl necklace

Helen S. Hogg attends the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, August 16, 1972. Hogg Helen B1 (Catalog ID) Credit Line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, John Irwin Slide Collection

Helen Sawyer Hogg (1905-1993) was a Canadian-American astronomer who served in several leadership roles in astronomical societies across North America. The photo here shows Hogg at an AAS Meeting in August 1972 during her tenure as the first president of the Canadian Astronomical Society.

Born and educated in New England, Helen Sawyer Hogg earned her PhD in Astronomy from Radcliffe College in 1931 with a graduate fellowship at the Harvard Observatory that Dr. Annie Jump Cannon helped her secure. At Harvard, she studied under Dr. Harlow Shapley performing research on globular clusters. In 1935, Dr. Hogg moved to Canada to work with her husband at the David Dunlap Observatory at the University of Toronto and later became a professor there. She published more than 200 papers in her career and became a leading expert in variable stars in globular clusters. Her early research work was awarded with the Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy in 1949 by the American Astronomical Society. 

Throughout her life Hogg served in many leadership roles in scientific and astronomical organizations in both the United States and Canada. She was the founding president of the Canadian Astronomical Society in 1971 and the first female president of both the Royal Canadian Institute (1964-65) and of the physical sciences section of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (1960). She also served as the president of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (1939-1941) and was the first female program director for Astronomy at the National Science Foundation (1955-56). While at the NSF she helped identify locations for several national observatories, including Kitt Peak National Observatory and the National Radio Observatory as well as award funding for the building of the Greenbank Radio Telescope. She also served as a Councilor to the American Astronomical Society from 1965-66. 

Hogg was a lifelong advocate for women in science, serving as a graduate mentor to many female astronomers at the University of Toronto, and for making astronomy popular with the general public. She hosted a Canadian educational television series in the 1970s and wrote the 1976 book The Stars Belong to Everyone: How to Enjoy Astronomy (which we hold here at NBLA).

Oral History:
Interview of Helen Hogg by David DeVorkin on 1979 August 17, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/4679

Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018)

Roman demonstrates models of spacecrafts to a group of female college students

Nancy Roman (center) conducts a demonstration with Smith College students during a visit to NASA, March 26, 1965. Roman, Nancy D4 (Catalog ID). Credit Line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Roman Collection.

To close out this first section of early trailblazers, we have Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018), the first woman to hold a senior position at NASA and first ever Chief of Astronomy programs. Although never an officer or trustee of the AAS, Nancy Grace Roman was an active member throughout her career and often served as a representative of NASA for AAS meetings. She was also a role model and advocate for women in STEM, as seen here in this photo above doing outreach with a group of students from Smith College in 1965.

Roman faced numerous challenges in her early career as a female astronomer in the early 20th century. Looking back on her career in science in a NASA interview, Roman said, “If I hadn’t been stubborn, I would’ve been talked out of it years earlier.” She was actively discouraged by male mentors in college and grad school from a career in astronomy, and although she loved teaching, was turned off from a career in academia because she saw very few opportunities for advancement as a woman. Only one woman in the country (Cecilia Payne-Gasposchkin) held a tenured faculty appointment in astronomy, and many observatories only hired women as computers or assistants, not as researchers. Roman found government labs more encouraging, working as a radio astronomer at the Naval Research Laboratory for several years before joining the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1959. 

Roman became NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy and Relativity Programs in 1960, securing and administrating funding for nearly all of NASA’s missions until her retirement in 1979 and leading the development of the first space-based telescopes. After her retirement from NASA in 1979, she worked at Goddard’s Astronomical Data Center before retiring for good in 1997. She spent much of her remaining years doing outreach and teaching students science while also attending several conferences for Women in Astronomy in the early 2000s. 

Nancy Grace Roman is now perhaps best known as the “Mother of the Hubble Space Telescope” and is the namesake for its successor due to be launched in 2027. (She also holds the distinction of having a LEGO figurine made of her!). Roman was also a frequent visitor to the Niels Bohr Library and Archives, where she donated some of her archival papers and photographs (including the one above) and recorded an oral history with us in 1980.

Oral History:
Interview of Nancy G. Roman by David DeVorkin on 1980 August 19, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA,www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/4846

Further Resources:
Nancy Grace Roman Papers at NBLA
More on Nancy Grace Roman from NASA

The Status of Women in Astronomy (1971-1990)

E. Margaret Burbridge (1919-2020)

Portrait of Margaret Burbidge

Portrait of E. Margaret Burbidge viewing astronomical slides at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting, 1980. Burbidge Eleanor Margaret A1 (Catalog ID) Credit Line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

No discussion of women leaders in the American Astronomical Society is complete without E. Margaret Burbidge (1919-2020), its first female president. There is much to be said of Burbidge’s distinguished research career: a brilliant British astrophysicist who was first author of the groundbreaking 1957 paper on stellar nucleosynthesis and performed research of quasars and galaxy rotation curves. She also had a major influence on the field of astronomy and the American Astronomical Society through her fight against gender discrimination in astronomy. 

In 1971, the same year she was appointed director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory (however the first director not to also hold the position of Astronomer Royal), she was offered the Annie Jump Cannon Award from the AAS. Burbidge declined the award because it was reserved for only women. In her rejection letter, she wrote: "It is high time that discrimination in favor of, as well as against, women in professional life be removed." The high-profile refusal of the Cannon award became a catalyst for major change within the AAS. A committee was set up to reevaluate the nature and existence of the Cannon Award which spurred the creation of the first working group and report on the Status of Women in Astronomy (see inset below). 

Margaret Burbidge served as the vice president of the AAS from 1972-1974 and then became its first female president in 1976. In her 2-year term, she brought the issue of the Equal Rights Amendment to the AAS council, where members agreed to ban AAS meetings in states that had not ratified the ERA. During her tenure, the Committee for the Status of Women in Astronomy was established to continue the work of the 1973 working group report and a new committee was created to review the status of minorities in astronomy.  

Oral History:
Interview of E. Margaret Burbidge by David DeVorkin on 1978 July 13, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/25487 

For more on Margaret Burbidge check out this April 2020 POTM

The Committee for the Status of Women In Astronomy

In 1971, when Margaret Burbidge refused the Annie Jump Cannon Award on the basis of gender discrimination, it sent a wake up call to the AAS to examine its practices with both the Cannon award and the status of women in astronomy. While the number of women in the AAS had been slowly increasing throughout the 20th century, the actual percentage of women in the society started declining in the 1940s. It hit an all-time low in 1973 at just 8% of members, after the Russian launch of Sputnik in 1957 caused the number of male astronomers in the AAS to increase at an exponential rate.

A Working Group on the Status of Women in Astronomy was formed in 1972 and in 1973, they published a groundbreaking report to the AAS examining internal and external factors creating challenges for female participation in AAS and the academic field of Astronomy as a whole. The report recommended several changes including more equity in leadership roles within the society and representation on prize nominating committees. The results of this report led to the creation of a formal Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA), established in 1978 when Margaret Burbidge was president of the AAS.

You can read the full 1973 report by Anne Cowley, Roberta Humpherys, Barbara Lynds, and Vera Rubin here and a 2018 Physics Today article by Roberta Humpherys recounting her experience of the events leading up to and surrounding the creation the Working Group and Report.

Vera C. Rubin (1928-2016)

portrait of vera rubin smiling and wearing glasses

Vera Rubin at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Seattle April 11, 1972. Rubin Vera B5 (Catalog ID). Credit Line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, John Irwin Slide Collection. 

Vera Rubin (1928-2016) is perhaps best known for her discovery of dark matter in galaxy rotation curves and her distinguished career as a research astronomer at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC. Rubin was elected Councilor to the AAS (1977-1980) and served on several committees, including the first working group on the Status of Women in Astronomy and co-authoring the 1973 report. The photo above is of Vera Rubin at the AAS meeting in 1972 when the Working Group was first formed. Rubin was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1981 and awarded the National Medal of Science in 1993. She was also the first woman to receive the Royal Astronomical Society’s Gold medal since the early 19th century.

Rubin faced gender discrimination through much of her early career from graduate programs – Princeton refused her request to see the graduate course catalog since they were not going to accept women – eventually getting her PhD at Georgetown University through night courses – to male colleagues who did not take her seriously.
Rubin’s first AAS meeting was in 1950 when her advisor at Cornell, Professor Shaw, had said “that he thought the work could be presented at the AAS meeting in Haverford in December, but inasmuch as I was not a member and inasmuch as I was expecting a child, I would not be able to go, and he would be willing to give it in his name. Not in my name. I said to him, "Oh, I can go," and that's what got me to the December meeting.”

She ended up traveling over 200 miles in the snow with a newborn baby in tow to be able to present her paper, to which “all the comments were negative except one when this little man with a very high-pitched voice sort of ended the discussion by saying, as Martin Schwarzschild always does wonderfully to young people, "This is a very interesting thing to have attempted, and the data may not be quite good enough, and so forth, but it was interesting." 

When asked in a 1989 oral history interview, “Do you think that your experience in science has been different because you are a woman rather than a man?” Rubin replied:

Of course. Yes, of course. But I'm the wrong person to ask that question. The tragedy in that question is all the women who would have liked to have become astronomers and didn't. For those of us who have been successful in doing science, clearly the problems haven't been so great that we couldn't overcome them. By and large, if you ask a set of successful women, their answers would have to be that whatever the problems or differences were, they managed.

Oral Histories:

Interview of Vera Rubin by Alan Lightman on 1989 April 3, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/33963

Interview of Vera Rubin by David DeVorkin on 1995 September 21, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, AIP, College Park, MD USA,www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/5920-1

Interview of Vera Rubin by David DeVorkin on 1996 May 9, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, AIP, College Park, MD USA,www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/5920-2

Interview of Vera Rubin by David DeVorkin and Ashley Yeager on 20 July 2007, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, AIP, College Park, MD USA,www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/44082

Sidney C. Wolff (b. 1941)

portrait of sidney wolff standing in front of telescope equipment

Portrait of Sidney Wolff. Wolff Sidney A1 (Catalog ID) Credit Line: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection


Sidney C. Wolff (b. 1941) is an American astronomer who became the first woman to head a U.S. National Observatory. In 1984 she was invited to apply to the directorship of Kitt Peak National Laboratory and in 1987 was appointed director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO), where she served as its longest standing director until 2001. During this time, she also was elected president of the AAS, from 1992-1994, having served as a Councilor a decade earlier (1983-86). Wolff also was also on the first Committee for the Status of Women in Astronomy and contributed to the 1973 report. Sidney Wolff was the first woman to direct the NOAO, however she credited the relatively availability of leadership opportunities to her in her career to the changing attitudes towards of women in astronomy:

Another factor that helped me personally was that through the ‘70s, people started to become guilty about the way they treated women and so everybody wanted a token woman on a committee. Once they found that they had somebody who was sensible and had useful things to say, and didn’t cause a lot of trouble, they tended to keep appointing her to more committees. There’s no doubt that the fact that I was appointed first to some committee by, I think it was Steve Strom, whom I knew pretty well at the time, parlayed into more involvement on a national level which made me a credible candidate for this job. I think the fact that there was an effort to involve women on key advisory committees and other things clearly helped me.

During her time as director of the NOAO, Wolff shaped the landscape of ground-based astronomy, where she led and secured funding for several international telescope building projects including the Gemini Telescopes and the Thirty Meter Telescope. Wolff also is passionate about science education, and won the AAS Education Prize in 2006 for her introductory astronomy textbook and the creation of the first peer-reviewed astronomy education journal, Astronomy Education Review.

Oral History:
Interview of Sidney Wolff by Patrick McCray on 1999 October 28, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/23363-1https://www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/23363-2

Women Hold Up Half the Sky (1990 - present)

While advancements in women's rights and for women in astronomy in the 1970s and 80s cleared the path for more women to be included in leadership roles and graduate programs, a major change from the 1950s and 60s, however still a long way from full equality and equity. By the early 1990s, a new generation of women astronomers were growing frustrated with salary discrepancies and lack of progress towards equality in the field. This led to “Women at Work: A Meeting on the Status of Women in Astronomy” at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, the first conference dedicated to discuss the status of women in astronomy in 1992. There were 184 attendees, including several of the women in this POTM: Meg Urry (co-organizer), Debra Elmegreen, Vera Rubin, Sidney Wolff, Mercedes T. Richards, and Margaret Burbidge. The outcome of this meeting was the drafting of the Baltimore Charter, a resolution and call to action committing to equality in astronomy. This charter was adopted by the American Astronomical Society in January 1994.

You can read the full text of the Baltimore Charter here

C. Megan Urry and Debra Elmegreen (b. 1952)

L to R: Elmegreen, Helfand, and Urry smiling at a conference group photo.

Three consecutive American Astronomical Society (AAS) Presidents - L-R: Debra Elmegreen, David Helfand, and Meg Urry. Elmegreen Debra C1 (Catalog ID). Credit Line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Gift of David Helfand

Two recent AAS presidents of note who were particularly involved in the advancement of women in astronomy in the 1990s are Debra Elmegreen and C. Megan Urry, who served as AAS presidents in 2010-2012 and 2014-2016, respectively. In this photo, they can be seen standing next to David Helfand, who served as AAS president between their terms (he is currently the Chair of the Board of the American Institute of Physics). Both Meg Urry and Debra Elemgreen were elected Legacy Fellows of the American Astronomical Society in 2020.

Debra Elmegreen has been a Professor of Astronomy at Vassar College since 1985 and has been involved with the leadership of astronomical organizations locally and abroad. Since 2015 she has been on the executive board of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), first as vice president and now is currently serving as IAU President. Debra Elmegreen served as the chair of the AAS’s committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy from 1989-1997. During Elmegreen’s time as chairwoman, she helped transform the committee into the digital age, establishing the semiannual electronic newsletter STATUS which ran from 1987-2016. Status helped facilitate discussion and dissemination of information about the status of women in astronomy and expanded the committee's reach and impact (Since 2001 the CSWA has also produced a weekly newsletter called AASWomen which is now available as a blog). 

Meg Urry has been a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University since 2001, the only woman in the department when she was hired. She began her career at the Space Telescope Science Institute where she completed her post-doc research (which was awarded the Annie Jump Cannon award in 1990) and was later hired as a staff scientist. While at STScI, she co-organized the 1992 “Women at Work” conference which produced the Baltimore Charter. Urry has since continued work addressing the issues of gender inequality and sexual harassment in astronomy, frequently invited to give talks on the topic and making it a focus of her platform as President of the AAS. She has also served on the APS Committee for the Status of Women in Physics.

Check out the 2022 Physics Today article “Gender Equality in astronomy is still a work in progress”: for Meg Urry’s reflection on the 30 years since the Baltimore Charter.

Mercedes T. Richards (1955-2016)

Richards sitting next to a telescope smiling

Portrait of Mercedes Richards. Richards Mercedes A1 (Catalog ID). Credit Line: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

The final female leader in astronomy to be featured in this POTM is Mercedes T. Richards (1955-2016). Mercedes Richards was a Jamaican-born astronomer who studied binary stars and was a Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State University. In 2015 she was elected as a Councilor for the American Astronomical Society; however, she died before being able to serve out her term. 

Richards grew up in Kingston, Jamaica where she discovered her love for astronomy and earned her bachelor's degree in Physics at the University of the West Indies. She then completed her PhD in Astronomy at the University of Toronto in 1986 and after some years at the University of Virginia, became a professor at Penn State University in 2001. It is worth noting that Richards was the 2nd Black woman to earn a PhD in Astronomy (Barbara Williams was the first, earning hers at UMD in 1981). 

Richards was active in several astronomical organizations including the AAS, IAU, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (see photo above). She served as both vice-president and president of the IAU’s Commission 42 Close Binary Stars between 2009-2015 and organized a number of international conferences. Richards also attended the 1992 Baltimore Charter conference. Her work as a STEM educator was lauded, both as a popular professor of college students and in founding a high school science outreach program (SEECoS). In 2004 she was awarded the Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship by the AAS to travel and give guest lectures at universities across the US to encourage excitement in modern astronomy. In 2009, the Institute of Jamaica awarded her their highest honor, the Musgrave Medal, making her only the 14th scientist to earn this distinction since the award’s founding in 1889.

For more on Mercedes Richards see this profile from POC Squared and to learn more about African American Women in Physics see their database here.

Further Reading

The American Astronomical Society’s First Century, edited by David H. Devorkin, American Astronomical Society, 1999.

The Sky is For Everyone: Women Astronomers in Their Own Words, edited by Virginia Trimble and David A. Weintraub, Princeton University Press, 2022.

Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary, edited by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 1997.

About the Author

Karina Cooper

Nancy Roman

Karina Cooper

Karina Cooper is the Metadata Librarian at the Niels Bohr Library & Archives. She holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College where she studied Classics and Astronomy and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her work at NBLA mainly involves improving the accessibility, discoverability, and accuracy of the library’s collections and catalog. She also enjoys being able to combine her love of physics and ancient languages working with special collections at the Niels Bohr Library and being able to constantly learn new things. Outside of work, her hobbies include playing the violin, reading, and English and Scottish country dancing. One of her favorite books in the collection is The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel.

Caption: Nancy Roman shows Women in Astronomy Exhibit at the Smithsonian, Washington, DC circa 1974.

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