Dr. Nancy Roman, the first women to hold an executive position at NASA has passed away this week aged 93. She was known as the "Mother of the Hubble" for her work on the Hubble Space Telescope Program. Tributes for Roman have poured in from across the globe.
NASA said she will always be remembered for her work advancing the involvement of women in science. Roman was reportedly fascinated by the night sky from an early age and fueled her curiosity by joining an astronomy club aged 11.
Nancy Grace Roman, often referred to as the “Mother of Hubble," passed away on Christmas Day. Dr. Roman was the first woman to hold an executive position at @NASA. Her contributions to this agency will live on and my prayers are with her family. https://t.co/by441lbS1T— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) December 28, 2018
Roman fought at every level for the right to study science
Her path to becoming a scientist was not easy and she was forced to fight and defend her right to STEM education at every level.
"I still remember asking my high school guidance teacher for permission to take a second year of algebra instead of a fifth year of Latin," she once told the Voice of America.
"She looked down her nose at me and sneered, 'What lady would take mathematics instead of Latin?' That was the sort of reception that I got most of the way".
Roman overcame the misogyny and was awarded a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1949. Upon leaving the school she took a job at the United States Naval Research Laboratory.
Please join us in remembering Dr. Nancy Roman, known for her unending support of Hubble and as a leader @NASA. Learn more about her contributions to Hubble and @stsci: https://t.co/0lEodWuF2v #HubbleHistory #NancyRoman #DrNancyRoman pic.twitter.com/vD7mKiL3zb— HubbleTelescope (@HubbleTelescope) December 28, 2018
Roman worked on the initial plans for the Hubble
In 1959 she was recruited to be the first chief of astronomy at NASA. She worked with the agency for two decades. Her crowning achievement at NASA was contributing to the planning of the Hubble Space Telescope.
The famous scientific equipment was launched in 1990 and has provided the world with never before seen images from space. As well as her dedication to her career Roman continued to fight for the rights of women to study and be accepted into the science and math fields.
She was an advocate for women's science education and even taught astronomy classes herself to elementary children in the 1990s.
Her work has been recognized by a Women in Aerospace Lifetime Achievement Award and Nasa's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award. She is forever immortalized as a Lego figurine, part of the 231-piece Women of Nasa set that was released in 2017.