Celebrating Women's History Month at the Earth and Planets Laboratory
The Earth and Planets Laboratory (EPL) is celebrating Women's History Month throughout the month of March, highlighting the inspirational women from our history and those who work here today. International Women's Day is March 8.
In 1965, Vera Rubin joined the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (now EPL) as the first woman staff scientist. That same year, she was the first woman allowed to observe at the Palomar Observatory. She discovered the evidence supporting the existence of dark matter while studying the rotation of galaxies. An asteroid, a ridge on Mars, and a U.S. observatory have since been named after her.
In 1950, Gabrielle Donnay joined the Geophysical Laboratory (now EPL) as a fellow and five years later became GL's first female staff scientist. She was an internationally known expert in the structure and chemistry of crystals. The minerals gaidonnayite and donnayite-(Y) were named for her.
Both of these women were advocates for gender equality and made groundbreaking discoveries in science at a time when women were expressly banned from many research facilities. We are proud that their legacy lives on at the Earth and Planets Laboratory.
Today, EPL has 22 female scientists on campus including staff scientists, postdocs, and scientific support staff working to enhance our understanding of the world around us. Together, their character, ambition, and commitment will continue to push EPL to explore and discover our planet and its place in the universe!