Margherita Hack: Google Honours Italian astrophysicist "Lady Of The Stars" Margherita Hack With A Doodle

June 12, 2021: Google honoured Italian astrophysicist Margherita Hack with a doodle on her 99th birth anniversary on Saturday. She had discovered the asteroid 8558 Hack, which was named in her honour.

doodle by google

"Today's Doodle celebrates the 99th birthday of Italian professor, activist, author, and astrophysicist Margherita "The Lady of the Stars" Hack," said Google. "Thank you for inspiring future generations to shoot for the stars!" it said.

The Google doodle shows Hack sitting on her chair and looking into her telescope.
Born on June 12, 1922 in Florence, Italy, Hack was the first female director of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory. She had moved to Trieste in 1964 and had earned a full professorship at the city university, being the first woman to do so.

Besides her interest in satellites and astrophysics, Hack was also an advocate of civil rights and equality, and championed progressive causes and animal protection.

Margherita Hack had initially started with literature major in university, but just after one class, she changed her major to physics. Her innovations at Trieste's Observatory earned her recognition in the astronomical community, along with memberships at NASA and European Space Agency.

Hack also published dozens of academic papers and several books on astronomy, besides launching two astronomical magazines. At 90, she was conferred the title of Dama di Gran Croce, the highest award given by the Italian government.

Hack died at the age of 91 on June 29, 2013.

Hack’s scientific interests and research activity covered a broad range of subjects. Her main field of expertise concerned the observation and interpretation of the spectroscopic characteristics of stars. Her research in this field involved the study of the chemical composition of stars, and of their surface temperature and gravity.

During the 1970s, she worked on the UV data from the Copernicus satellite, with the purpose of studying the energetic phenomena that take place in the external part of the stellar atmosphere and cause mass losses that need to be accounted for in the theoretical models of stellar evolution. Her first research article based on data from Copernicus was published in Nature in 1974.

Besides science, she was also actively involved in education, outreach and politics. On her 90th birthday on June 12, 2012, she received the title of “Dama di Gran Croce”, the highest honour of the Italian Republic.

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