February 9, 1987
Astronomer Vera Rubin ’48 from the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institute came to campus as the President’s Distinguished Visitor. One of the three female members of the National Academy of Sciences, in the early 1970s Rubin discovered in the rotation curves of distant galaxies proof of the long-suspected existence of “dark matter,” an unknown substance thought to constitute most of the universe.
Rubin presented a lecture and slide show on "Bright Galaxies, Dark Matter and Other Puzzles of the Galaxy." While on campus, Rubin participated in three panels: “Science and the Media,” with Newsday science editor B.D. Colen, PBS television producer Terry Rockefeller and faculty members; “Science and the Liberal Arts,” featuring Veterans Hospital doctor Geraldine Schecter ’59, wood sculpture conservator Jean Daniels Portell ’62 and faculty members; and “The Role of Gender in Science,” with Smithsonian curator Deborah Warner, University of Massachusetts astronomer Judith Rubin Young and faculty members.