Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, astronomer

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, astronomer

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Credit: PHYSICS TODAY COLLECTION/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900-1979), British astronomer. As Cecilia Payne (she married in 1934) she carried out fundamental work on the structure of the Sun. Her PhD dissertation stated that the element hydrogen was the most abundant component of the Sun. This was not immediately accepted, but is now seen as a fundamental advance. Payne was one of an unusually large group of women working as astronomers at Harvard, USA. In 1977, Payne- Gaposchkin received the prestigious Henry Norris Russell Prize. Photographed in 1948.

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