Nancy Grace Roman 1925-2018

Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, first woman executive at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, died on Christmas Day. Known as the mother of the Hubble, she was the first chief of astronomy in NASA’s Office of Space Science.

In the 1930s, 11-year-old Nancy became bewitched by the stars in the night sky over Reno.

“In Reno, of course, the skies were very clear, a beautiful place to observe the sky, and we lived on the edge of the city at the time,” she told a National Air and Space Museum interviewer in 1980. She and her friends formed an astronomy club for girls, though later some of her teachers told her it was not a calling for women.

“We learned the constellations, read astronomy. I just never lost my interest in it,” she said.

The website noted that though she never won the Nobel prize, there is an honor that is probably more impressive to later little girls who might want to overcome skepticism that they belong in the field—a Nancy Grace Roman figurine by Lego.