Known as the 'Mother of Hubble,' Nancy Grace Roman is shown here at the Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago in 1948, where she was studying for her doctorate in astronomy.
As NASA's first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science in a time when women were discouraged from studying math and science, Nancy Grace Roman became a research astronomer and the first Chief of Astronomy at NASA. She also was the first woman to hold an executive position at the agency. In her role, she was instrumental in the planning and development of programs including the Cosmic Background Explorer and the Hubble Space Telescope, taking them from ideas to reality and establishing NASA’s program of space-based astronomical observatories.
Roman earned her doctorate in 1949 and became a faculty member at the university. In this image she is working with the 40-inch refracting telescope at Yerkes, using William W. Morgan’s spectrograph. She joined NASA in 1959, less than a year after the agency came into being.
On this International Women's Day, learn more about Nancy Grace Roman and the other women who were instrumental in the development of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has brought the world decades of images of the solar system and the universe:
Image Credit: Courtesy of Nancy Grace Roman (used by permission)