We are living in the second decade of the 21st century. The old beliefs that a woman must only manage the house and must only study arts have been shattered long ago. These beliefs, however, still prevail in most of the developing countries but the percentage of women scientists and entrepreneurs has increased considerably as compared to the previous century. Today, we will meet 7 female astronomers and space scientists who are working day and night, following their passion and breaking stereotypes.
1. Minal Sampath: Super-Woman of ISRO
Minal Sampath is the Deputy Project Director at the Indian Space Research Organisation who went on to work for the Space Application Center which played a vital role in the development of the Mars Orbiter Mission, in which she was the only woman working on the project. She led a team of 500 scientists as a system engineer at ISRO. She abstained from taking any leaves for two years. She aims to become the first woman director to head a national space agency. Minal was CNN’s Woman of the Year in 2014.
2. Nancy Grace Roman: Mother of Hubble Space Telescope
Nancy Roman (93) was the first woman executive at NASA. Like most other women, Roman faced the problems of being a woman in the sciences in the mid-twentieth century. She was discouraged from going into astronomy by people around her. Nancy completed her PhD from The University of Chicago in 1949 and worked at the Yerkes Observatory for 6 years. During her employment at NASA, Roman developed and budgeted various programs and organized their scientific participation. She was involved in launching three Orbiting Solar Observatories and three Small Astronomical Satellites. The last program in which she was highly involved was the Hubble Space Telescope. She is known for planning the telescope and setting up the program’s structure. Her efforts have given countless astronomers a more complete vision of how stars form and evolve.
3. Carolyn Porco: Queen of the Rings
Carolyn Porco is one of the most followed planetary scientist in the world. She is the head of the Cassini Imaging Team and also a team member of the imaging team of New Horizons Mission that captured stunning images of Pluto and is currently en route to the Kuiper Belt. Carolyn has a deep understanding of the rings of outer planets their structure and evolution. She is accredited with the discovery of giant geysers of icy-particles on Saturn’s 6th largest moon Enceledus. n 2012, Porco was named one of the 25 most influential people in space by Time magazine.
4. Lisa Randall: Beauty With The Brains
Lisa Randall is an American theoretical physicist working in the field of particle physics and cosmology. She is currently an assistant professor at Harvard University. Her research concerns elementary particles and fundamental forces, and has involved the study of a wide variety of models, the most recent involving extra dimensions of space. She has also worked on supersymmetry, Standard Model observables, cosmological inflation, baryogenesis, grand unified theories, and general relativity. She contributed to the Randall–Sundrum model, first published in 1999 with Raman Sundrum.
5. Sara Seager: Exoplanet Hunter
Sara Seager is a Canadian-American astronomer and planetary scientist. She is currently a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has been recognized for her research by Popular Science, Discover Magazine, Nature, and TIME Magazine. Seager developed a parallel version of the Drake equation to estimate the number of habitable planets in the galaxy.
6. Anuradha TK: Senior most officer at ISRO
She first thought about becoming a space scientist when she was just 9 years old. That was when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, and Mrs. Anuradha was hooked.
As the senior-most officer, she is the inspiration for every woman scientist working in ISRO. As a student, she loved the logical subjects as compared to the subjects in which she had to memorise everything. Today, she applies the same logical brain to head one of the most important departments in ISRO.
7. Margaret Geller: Cartographer of the Universe
The universe is a big place, but that hasn’t stopped Margaret Geller from trying to shrink it to an understandable size. From the beginning, her goal has been nothing short of godlike: to map all that can — and can’t — be seen in the cosmos. The prize-winning Geller received a Ph.D. from Princeton and taught at Harvard. She works as a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, where she studies the structure of galaxies, including our own Milky Way, and seeks to map the distribution of dark matter to help us better understand its role in the universe and our relationship to it.