Today’s Google doodle is a tribute to Margherita Hack. Always surprising, the natural variant of the Google logo is this time dedicated to the Italian ‘Lady of the Stars’ and thus wants to celebrate the 99th birthday of astrophysics, academic, scientific popularizer and Italian activist Margherita Hack, born in Florence on June 12, 1922. In addition to her interest in satellites, asteroids and the evolution of stellar atmospheres, Margherita Hack, who passed away in Trieste on 29 June 2013, he defended civil rights by openly advocating progressive causes, animal protection and equality for all. “Happy birthday, Margherita Hack, and thank you for inspiring generations – past, present and future – to aim for the stars” marks the Google Team.
After taking only one college in literature, Hack moved on to major in physics. Following the 1945 discussion of his thesis on Cepheid variables – the stars used to measure intergalactic distances – Florentine astrophysics applied his knowledge on stellar spectroscopy at the Arcetri Astronomical Observatory in Florence. In 1964 Margherita moved to Trieste, where she went down in history not only as the first Italian woman to earn a professorship at the city’s university, but also as first female director of the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste.
Marco Santarelli, scientific director of the Margherita Hack Foundation, comments on the Doodle dedicated by Google to Italian astrophysics: “The Foundation has an agreement with the Municipality of Trieste to carry out the cataloging of its vast library. This is our most important goal: a place open to the public, a place that remembers and talks about it. We would like to bring many young people there. because this was what Margherita wanted. We are proud to have come this far, we are grateful to Google for this initiative, a digital and international cameo that pays homage to a great scientist and a wonderful person, who has made civil commitment a flag and of disclosure his only faith “.
For over 20 years, Hack has brought the Trieste Observatory to world fame, transforming it from a largely anonymous institution to a center of scientific progress. These important innovations have earned a Margherita Hack international recognition within the astronomical community, which then led it to become part of prestigious institutions such as NASA and the European Space Agency, headquarters of the most important scientific observatories in the world.
Acclaimed for her ability to explain complex scientific concepts to the general public, Margherita Hack has published dozens of academic articles, several books and founded two journals dedicated to astronomy and the stars. He has received a number of accolades for his achievements in life, most notably the asteroid 8558 Hack, which orbits between Mars and Jupiter, named in his honor in 1995. When she was 90, the Italian government awarded Margherita Hack its highest award: the title of Cavaliere di Gran Croce.
On the occasion of Margherita Hack’s 99th birthday, Margherita Hack Foundation and Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology they joined forces to remember astrophysics on the Google Arts & Culture platform. With archive images, the two institutions retrace the crucial moments in the life and career of Margherita Hack in a dedicated exhibition with the emblematic title: Feet firmly planted on the ground and eyes fixed on the stars, a bright and lively portrait to tell the world about the irreverent scientist and popularizer.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Google once again, especially for a celebration that is very close to our hearts like that for Margherita Hack, a great friend of the Museum and a source of inspiration for many young women “, finally affirms Fiorenzo Galli, General Director of the Leonardo da Vinci Science and Technology Museum.
“Margherita often came to visit us but – Galli recalls – there is an occasion that we remember with great emotion: the comparison between astrophysics and Monsignor D’Ercole, organized by the Museum in 2004, which was followed by so many people that it was necessary to set up a giant screen outside, just as if it were a rock star concert“.
Finally, Galli observes that “Margherita has always been a woman of strong intellectual honesty who has never hesitated to talk about her relationship with the supernatural and with religion, also confronting the leading exponents of the Catholic Church in an open way and without any cultural awe. “.