How Virginia Trimble became one of the first female astronomers at Caltech, befriended Richard Feynman, and ended up the world’s foremost chronicler of the science of the night sky

Elizabeth Landau in Quanta:

Beginning in 1991, Virginia Trimble read every single astronomy article published in 23 different journals. She would then write an annual “year in review” article, which astronomers everywhere used as a window into the rest of the field at large. Her characteristic dry humor came through even in the first installment: “Science, notoriously, progresses amoeba-like, thrusting out pseudopods in unpredictable directions and dragging in the rest of the body after or, occasionally, retreating in disorder.” She stopped in 2007, in part because, with online publishing, there were just too many articles to read.

This endeavor and others have given Trimble a perspective on the past half-century of astronomy that few others could claim.

Stardom was part of Trimble’s early years, and not just because she attended Hollywood High School. In 1962, while still an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she achieved her first small measure of fame when Life magazine published an article about her titled “Behind a Lovely Face, a 180 I.Q.” Then in 1963, she became Miss Twilight Zone, the face of a publicity campaign to promote the popular sci-fi show with Rod Serling.

More here.

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