Vera Rubin (center) at a 2009 meeting of women in astronomy. With her are Anne Kinney (left) of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Nancy Grace Roman (right), who had retired from the Goddard center.

Vera Rubin (center) at a 2009 meeting of women in astronomy. With her are Anne Kinney (left) of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Nancy Grace Roman (right), who had retired from the Goddard center. 

Pioneering astronomer Vera Rubin dies at 88

Astronomer Vera Rubin once told Science’s Rob Irion that “I became an astronomer because of looking at the sky” from the window of her childhood bedroom in Washington, D.C. Rubin, who died Sunday at the age of 88, went on to have a long and distinguished career, including being awarded the National Medal of Science in 1993.

A quote attributed to Rubin has become something of a Twitter meme in recent years. "Science is competitive, aggressive, demanding," she said in a graduation speech at the University of California, Berkeley. "It is also imaginative, inspiring, uplifting. You can do it, too." 

To learn more about Rubin’s life and times, you can read Irion’s 2002 profile of the distinguished scientist.