Happy Birthday Blog: Margherita Hack

Happy Birthday Blog: Margherita Hack

Margherita Hack

Born: June 12, 1922

Florence, Italy

Known for: Astrophysicist and scientific disseminator. 

Margherita Hack was known as the “Lady of the Stars” and spent her long career as an astronomer who focused on stellar spectroscopy and radio astronomy. Along with over 200 scientific papers to her name, the astroid 8558 Hack is named for her.

Born in Florence to parents who later joined the Theosophical Society, Hack enjoyed a very long career in astronomy. She was a full professor at the University of Trieste from 1964 to 1992. She was the first woman to become the Director of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory, serving in that position from 1964 to 1987. 

Hack was gifted at explaining difficult scientific concepts to the lay population and as well as writing popular science books, she became a constant figure on Italian television. She worked at many observatories both in America and across Europe and she also worked both with the ESA and NASA.

Margherita was also a strong force in political life. Throughout her life she fought to legalize abortion, and she also advocated for gay rights, animal rights, stem-cell research, and the right to euthanasia. She also served in several political seats for the Party of Italian Communists.

Active until her death in 2013, Hack made significant contributions to both her field and her country. For all her work, we wish her a very happy birthday.

Learn more about Margherita here.


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