Virginia Louise Trimble

Virginia Louise Trimble

Virginia Trimble at the 75th Anniversary of The Shapley–Curtis Debate in April 1995
Born (1943-11-15) November 15, 1943
Nationality American
Fields Astrophysics, Cosmology, History of Astronomy, History of Science
Education UCLA, Caltech, Cambridge
Thesis Motions and structure of the filamentary envelope of the Crab Nebula [1]
Doctoral advisor Guido Münch
Known for Annual reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics Research
Studies of telescope productivity
Influences Jesse L. Greenstein, Jan Oort, Richard Feynman, James Gunn, Fred Hoyle, Martin Rees
Notable awards NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing
Klopsteg Memorial Award
George Van Biesbroeck Prize
honorary doctorate from the University of Valencia
Spouse Joseph Weber

Virginia Louise Trimble is an astronomer specializing in the structure and evolution of stars and galaxies, and the history of astronomy. She has published more than 600 works in Astrophysics,[2] and dozens of other works in the history of other sciences. She received the NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing in 1986, "for informing and enlightening the astronomical community by her numerous, comprehensive, scholarly, and literate reviews, which have elucidated many complex astrophysical questions," the Klopsteg Memorial Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers in 2001, and the George Van Biesbroeck Prize in 2010, for "many years of dedicated service to the national and international communities of astronomers, including her expert assessments of progress in all fields of astrophysics and her significant roles in supporting organizations, boards, committees and foundations in the cause of astronomy."[3] She is famous for an annual review of astronomy and astrophysics research that was published in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and often gives summary reviews at astrophysical conferences.[4]


While attending UCLA in 1962, Trimble was the subject of a Life article titled "Behind a Lovely Face, a 180 I.Q."[5] The following year, she was selected to promote The Twilight Zone television show as "Miss Twilight Zone" in a national publicity tour. [6] She received her B.A. from UCLA in 1964 and her Ph.D from the California Institute of Technology in 1968. At the time, the California Institute of Technology did not admit women students "except under exceptional circumstances,"[7] and she was only the second woman allowed access to the Palomar Observatory.[8] Following a year of teaching at Smith College and two years postdoctoral work at the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy in Cambridge, Trimble joined the faculty of the University of California, Irvine in 1971, where she is now Professor of astronomy. In 1972, she met and 11 days later married University of Maryland, College Park Professor Joseph Weber, a pioneer in gravitational wave physics. From then until his death in 2000, she spent half of each academic year as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland.[9] She was vice president of the International Astronomical Union's Executive Committee from 1994-2000,[10] and vice president of the American Astronomical Society from 1997-2000.[11]

Selected works


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