Image - detail from book cover

Past Event

Bright Galaxies, Dark Matter, and Beyond

Join us to discover how astronomer Vera Rubin's persistence, after her work was initially dismissed, finally convinced the scientific community that dark matter might exist. It is now taken for granted that the universe is mostly dark, made up of particles that are undetectable even by our most powerful telescopes. This discovery of the possible existence of dark matter signaled a Copernican-like revolution in astronomy: not only are we no longer the center of the universe, but even the stuff we’re made of appears to be insignificant. By showing that some astronomical objects seem to exaggerate gravity’s grip, Rubin played a pivotal role in this discovery.

Yeager tells the story of Rubin’s childhood fascination with stars, and her scientific education at Vassar and Cornell. She became a rarity, a woman in science, and her findings were equally incredible to her colleagues. Since some observatories still restricted women from using their large telescopes, Rubin was unable to collect her own data until a decade after she had earned her Ph.D. But in 1993 she received the National Medal of Science for her groundbreaking work. She’s also been memorialized with a ridge on Mars, an asteroid, a galaxy, and most recently the Vera C. Rubin Observatory—the first national observatory named after a woman.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

MLF: Humanities

This is a free-for-members program. Members: Click on the "Buy Tickets" button above to order your tickets, and select the members link on the left side of the page. Your username is the email you used to sign up as a member. You can also request a password reset if needed. Discount will automatically be applied at checkout.

This is an online-only program; please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Copies of Bright Galaxies, Dark Matter, and Beyond are available for purchase at checkout (U.S. domestic shipping only).

Part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by The Bernard Osher Foundation.

Bernard Osher Foundation

In association with Wonderfest.

Author photo by Chris Johns.

August 26, 2021

United States

Image - Ashley Jean Yeager

Ashley Jean Yeager

Associate News Editor, Science News; Author, Bright Galaxies, Dark Matter, and Beyond: The Life of Astronomer Vera Rubin

Image - George Hammond

In Conversation with George Hammond

Author, Conversations With Socrates


10–11 a.m. (Pacific Time) program