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Margaret Burbidge
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    (August 12, 1919-April 5, 2020)
    Born in Davenport, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Eleanor Margaret Peachey
    Married astrophysicist Geoffrey Burbidge
    Known for her work on stellar nucleosynthesis, galaxy rotation curves, and quasars
    With her husband, William Fowler, and Fred Hoyle, authored the B2FH Paper (1957), considered a landmark in describing the origin of the chemical elements
    Participated in developing the Faint Object Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope
    Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory (1973-75)
    President of the American Astronomical Society (1976-78)
    Received the National Medal of Science (1985)
    Co-recipient with her husband of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (2005)
    She was turned down for a postdoctorate fellowship at the Carnegie Institute for Science because it required working at the Mount Wilson Observatory, which was reserved for men only.
    Eventually, her husband was hired by Mount Wilson as an observer, despite his lack of experience operating a telescope.
    She would accompany Geoffrey to Mount Wilson, ostensibly as his assistant.
    In reality, she would make observations while he worked in the photographic dark room.
    She was one of the last holdouts against the Big Bang Theory and in favor of a steady-state universe.
    She was married to Geoffrey Burbidge for 61 years.
    During World War II, her PhD research at the University of London Observatory was twice interrupted by nearby explosions of V-1 buzz bombs.
    When she taught astronomy at the University of London, one of her students was Arthur C. Clarke.
    She made most of her contributions to the B2FH Paper while pregnant.
    As part of her campaign against gender discrimination in science, she turned down the American Astronomical Society’s Annie J. Cannon Award because only women were eligible: ‘It is high time that discrimination in favor of, as well as against, women in professional life be removed.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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