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Interesting and Fun Facts about Maria Luisa Aguilar, a Peru’s First Professional Astronomer



Interesting and Fun Facts about Maria Luisa Aguilar, a Peru's First Professional Astronomer

On June 20, 2023, the world-famous astronomer Maria Luisa Aguilar’s 85th birthday is celebrated in the Google Doodle. She reached for the stars and became Peru’s first professional astronomer. Here are some interesting and fun facts about Maria Luisa Aguilar.

Maria Luisa Aguilar 85th Birthday Google Doodle
Google Doodle on Maria Luisa Aguilar’s 85th birthday

Here is a look at the life and work of Maria Luisa Aguilar.

Who was Maria Luisa Aguilar?

Quick Look

  • Birth date: June 20, 1938
  • Birth place: Jauja, Junín, Peru
  • Died on: October 29, 2015 (aged 77)
  • Death place: Lima, Peru
  • Alma mater: National University of La Plata
  • Known for:
    • First Peruvian female astronomer
    • Scientific career
  • Fields: Astronomy, astrospectroscopy
  • Institutions: National University of San Marcos

15 Interesting Facts about Maria Luisa Aguilar

  1. María Luisa Aguilar Hurtado, was the first professional astronomer of Peru. She attended the National University of San Marcos Institute of Mathematics and Physics in Lima, Peru. At the National University of La Plata in Argentina, she received her degree as an astronomer.
  2. She established the “Astronomy and Astrophysics Seminar,” which is now known as the “Permanent Astronomy and Space Sciences Seminar” of the National University of San Marcos, in 1981 with the intention of professionalizing astronomy.
  3. Maria Luisa Aguilar was born in the city of Jauja, where she spent her first three years of life. She attended the Elvira García y García Mayor School Unit in Lima for both her primary and secondary education. She joined the National University of San Marcos School of Mathematics in 1958.
  4. She went to Argentina to study astronomy at the National University of La Plata’s Astronomy and Geophysics Observatory; At that time, Peru lacked such a professional specialty. Astronomical spectroscopy, stellar atmospheres, and variable stars were her areas of expertise.
  5. Maria Luisa Aguilar began teaching at the National University of San Marcos and the National University of Engineering in 1969 after returning to Peru. In those early years, she established the “Astronomical Fridays,” a venue for the dissemination of astronomy that has continued to this day and is the oldest continuous conference and talk series in Peru’s history.
  6. The Astronomy and Astrophysics Seminar was established by Maria Luisa Aguilar in 1981. In 2001, it was renamed the Permanent Astronomy and Space Sciences Seminar – SPACE.
  7. Maria Luisa Aguilar was recognized as a Member of the International Astronomical Union in 1982. She was a member of Commission C1 WG Network for Astronomy School Education (NASE) and Commission 46 Astronomy Education and Development.
  8. In January 1984, she promoted and managed the “San Marcos – International Astronomical Union agreement,” which made possible the first Visiting Lecturer Program of the International Astronomical Union in Peru.
  9. Maria Luisa Aguilar coordinated the arrival of doctors José Luis Sérsic, an Argentine specialist in galaxies, Josip Kleczek, a Czech Sun scholar, and Jorge Sahade, the first Latin American president of the International Astronomical Union, in 1985.
  10. Between 1999 and 2000, she enthusiastically collaborated on science and astronomy topics for the Sunday supplement of the Peruvian newspaper “El Comercio.”
  11. Maria Luisa Aguilar was named “Single Point of Contact” between Peru and the International Astronomical Union as part of the global celebrations of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy.
  12. She promoted and participated in several education and outreach initiatives in Peru that year, including “Astronomical Fridays,” “Itinerant Telescope,” “Galileo Teacher Training Program,” and “Galileo Mobile.”
  13. The San Marcos Astronomical Observatory for Education and Tourism Project in Maranganí, Cusco, was promoted by Aguilar, and it was inaugurated following her death in 2016.
  14. Maria Luisa Aguilar hosted the programs “Culture, Science, and Technology” on Radio Cielo in her last years and “Science and Culture” on Juan 19 TV’s “Faces of Culture.” One of the main characters in the play “Our great adventure in Science,” which was written by Paola Vicente Chocano and directed by Rocio Lino, was Maria Aguilar.
  15. On June 20, 2023, Google featured a Google Doodle on its home page for celebrating Maria Luisa Aguilar’s 85th birthday.
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