Due to this year’s deluge of high-profile celebrity deaths, it’s no wonder the deaths of some other prominent people have passed many of us by. But one person in particular, should be remembered.
Professor Vera Rubin – the woman responsible for some of the most astounding recent scientific research – was 88 when she passed away on Christmas Day this year.
Rubin and her colleague Kent Ford were working at the Carnegie Institute in the 1970s when they theorised that galaxies were held together by dark matter.
Their efforts provided compelling evidence that there was much more dark matter than the conventional matter we're familiar with, and their research into galaxy's rotation curves was considered unparalleled at the time.
In addition to her incredible academic work, Rubin was also an advocate for women in science, a cause fuelled by her denial into Princeton to study astrology because of her sex.
Since dark matter has been one of the major cosmological discoveries of the last fifty years, the fact that Rubin was never awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in recognition of her work has drawn considerable attention. The subsequent, and still occasionally questioned, discovery of dark energy won the 2011 prize, yet Rubin's more foundational work was passed over. The fact that no woman has won the physics prize for more than 50 years has drawn considerable criticism, and Rubin was possibly the most deserving non-recipient.
People have also taken to Twitter to remember Rubin, and argue she was more than deserving of a Nobel Prize: