Cecilia Payne, the astronomer who unraveled the composition of the stars

Cecilia Payne, the astronomer who unraveled the composition of the stars

Today, in the section of women scientists, we are going to tell you about the life of a great astronomy.

It is important to publicize Cecilia Payne, not only because of how important his work on composition of the stars, but also because of the way in which he gave his life to science, without being daunted by the adversities imposed by his sex.

And it is that despite how important her studies were, she was not officially recognized as an astronomer until many years later, but that is why she did not stop studying what she was passionate about, receiving several awards in honor of her effort.

Cecilia Payne Biography

Astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

Cecilia Helena Payne-Gapochskin I was born in the United Kingdom on May 10, 1900. Daughter of an important London musician and historian, he did not receive any impediment from his family to dedicate himself to science, so he began studying botany, physical and chemical in the University of Cambridge. However, getting a degree at that time was not easy for women in England, so she ended up in 1922 traveling to United States to finish his training there.

Soon after, in 1,925, he obtained his doctorate in astronomy on the occasion of his thesis work, entitled Stellar atmospheres, a contribution to the study of the observation of high temperatures in the inverting layers of stars.

Already in 1931 I managed to obtain the U.S. citizenship and decided to stay there, continuing his studies in Harvard; although, paradoxically, it was not until 1938 when he was granted the astronomy title. Yes, one brilliant thesis about the composition of the stars and several years researching Harvard, but it was not yet an astronomy. Although late, everything changed and a couple of decades later she became the first woman associate professor of Harvard and, shortly after, in the first department head from the same center.

Cecilia Payne’s contributions to science

For her doctoral thesis, Cecilia used the theory of ionization of Meghnad Saha and related the spectrum of the stars with his absolute temperature, finally concluding that its main component was the hydrogen.

Very adequately, this work was very adequately rated by the astronomer Otto Struve how the brightest doctoral thesis in astronomy in history, so they won a great reputation among those who were engaged in this branch of science.

All this was worth various recognitions, As the Annie J. Cannon Award astronomy and reading the Henry Norris Russel of the American Astronomical Society, received in 1976.

Soon after, in 1979, he passed away leaving a magnificent scientific career and a asteroid baptized with his name behind his back.

His effort and dedication undoubtedly earned him such a brilliant career. As bright as the stars he studied.

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