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Margherita Hack: Google Doodle celebrates Italian “The Lady of the Stars” and astrophysicist’s 99th birthday

Google animated Doodle celebrates the 99th birthday of an Italian astrophysicist and scientific disseminator Margherita “The Lady of the Stars” Hack on June 12, 2021. Margherita Hack is credited to have found asteroid 8558 Hack in 1995 which was named in her honor.

Who was Margherita Hack?

Margherita Hack Google animated Doodle celebrates Italian The Lady of the Stars and astrophysicists 99th birthday
Margherita Hack

Margherita Hack, who acquired the moniker of “The Lady of the Stars”, was born in Florence on June 12, 1922. She was an Italian professor, activist, author, and astrophysicist.

An athlete in her youth, Margherita Hack played basketball and contended in track and field during the National University Contests, called the Littoriali under Mussolini’s fascist regime, where she won the long jump and the high jump events.

Margherita Hack married Aldo De Rosa on 19 February 1944 in the church of San Leonardo in Arcetri; De Rosa had been one of her childhood playmates.

Hack went to the Liceo Classico “Galileo Galilei” in Florence, however, the outbreak of World War II kept her from taking her exams. In 1945, she graduated in physics from the University of Florence. Hack considered Abetti her model for a scientist, teacher, and scientific research centre administrator.

Margherita Hack just took one university class in literature after which she changed her major to physics. Her graduation thesis in astrophysics was on Cepheid variables, because of her investigations in the Arcetri Observatory.

Hack moved to Trieste in 1964 where she made history as the first Italian woman to procure a full professorship at the city’s university. She likewise became the first female director of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory.

Margherita Hack was a full professor of astronomy at the University of Trieste. She has additionally been the first Italian woman to administrate the Trieste Astronomical Observatory from 1964 to 1987, carrying it to international fame.

For more than 20 years, Margherita Hack changed Trieste’s Observatory from a generally anonymous institution to a worldwide prestigious nexus of scientific advancement. These recognized innovations accumulated Hack international recognition in the astronomical community, which prompted renowned memberships at NASA and the European Space Agency—both home to the world’s foremost scientific observatories.

Margherita Hack’s scientific interests and research activity covered a wide scope of subjects. Her main field of skill concerned the observation and interpretation of the spectroscopic characteristics of stars. Her research in this field included the study of the chemical composition of stars, and their surface temperature and gravity.

During the 1970s, Margherita Hack worked on the UV data from the Copernicus satellite, to study the energetic phenomena that occur in the outer part of the stellar atmosphere and cause mass losses that should be represented in the theoretical models of stellar evolution. Her first research article dependent on information from Copernicus was published in Nature in 1974.

Margherita Hack championed civil rights as an outspoken advocate for reformist causes, animal protection, and equality for all. Her interest in satellites, asteroids, and the evolution of stellar atmospheres was remarkable.

Acclaimed for Margherita Hack’s ability to disclose complex scientific ideas to the overall population, Hack published many academic papers, a few astronomy books, and established two astronomical magazines. She got a reiteration of awards for her lifetime achievements, eminently having asteroid 8558 Hack, which orbits between Mars and Jupiter, named in her honor in 1995.

In 1994, she was awarded the Targa Giuseppe Piazzi for her scientific research. She was honored with the Cortina Ulisse Prize for scientific dissemination in 1995.

Other than science, Margherita Hack was additionally effectively associated with education, outreach, and politics. On her 90th birthday celebration on June 12, 2012, she got the title of “Dama di Gran Croce”, the highest honor of the Italian Republic.

Margherita Hack died on 29 June 2013 at the age of 91 at Cattinara Hospital in Trieste.

On June 12, 2021, Google observes Margherita Hack’s 99th Birthday with an animated Google Doodle.

The present Google Doodle shows Margherita Hack looking into her telescope while sitting on a chair. The asteroid 8558 Hack can be seen rotating in the animated doodle. Hack is credited to have found asteroid 8558 Hack in 1995 which was named in her honor.

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