Google on Saturday celebrated the 99th birth anniversary of Italian professor, activist, author and astrophysicist Margherita Heck with a doodle. Haik, nicknamed “The Lady of the Stars”, was born on this day in 1922 in Florence.
Hack supported civil rights as a vocal supporter of progressive causes, animal protection and equality for all. His interest in the development of satellites, asteroids and stellar environments was extraordinary.
He took only one university class in literature before majoring in physics. After defending his thesis on Cepheid variables (stars used to measure intergalactic distances) in 1945, Haack applied his knowledge of stellar spectroscopy as an astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory of Archeology in Florence.
In 1964, Hack moved to Trieste, where she made history not only as the first Italian woman to earn a full professorship at the city’s university, but also as the first female director of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory. For more than 20 years, he transformed the Observatory of Trieste from a largely anonymous institution into a globally renowned nexus of scientific advances. These distinctive innovations gained hack international recognition in the astronomical community, leading to prestigious membership in NASA and the European Space Agency – both home to the world’s leading scientific observatories.