Virginia Louise Trimble

Virginia Louise Trimble (born 1943) is an American astronomer specializing in the structure and evolution of stars and galaxies, and the history of astronomy.[2] She has published more than 600 works in Astrophysics,[3] 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."[4] 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.[5] In 2018, she was elected a Patron of the American Astronomical Society, for her many years of intellectual, organizational, and financial contributions to the society.[6]

Virginia Louise Trimble
Virginia Trimble at the 75th Anniversary of The Shapley–Curtis Debate in April 1995
Born (1943-11-15) November 15, 1943
EducationUCLA, Caltech, Cambridge
Known forAnnual reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics Research
Studies of telescope productivity
Spouse(s)Joseph Weber
AwardsNAS Award for Scientific Reviewing
Klopsteg Memorial Award
George Van Biesbroeck Prize
honorary doctorate from the University of Valencia
Andrew Gemant Award
Scientific career
FieldsAstrophysics, Cosmology, History of Astronomy, History of Science
ThesisMotions and structure of the filamentary envelope of the Crab Nebula [1]
Doctoral advisorGuido Münch
InfluencesJesse L. Greenstein, Jan Oort, Richard Feynman, James Gunn, Fred Hoyle, Martin Rees


Trimble "grew up the only child of a chemist father and a mother with a flair for language, within easy driving distance of both UCLA and Caltech."[7] While attending UCLA in 1962, she was the subject of a Life article titled "Behind a Lovely Face, a 180 I.Q."[8] The following year, she was selected to promote The Twilight Zone television show as "Miss Twilight Zone" in a national publicity tour. [9] 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,"[10] and she was only the second woman allowed access to the Palomar Observatory.[11] 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.[12] She was vice president of the International Astronomical Union's Executive Committee from 1994-2000,[13] and vice president of the American Astronomical Society from 1997-2000.[14]


Selected works

  • Trimble, Virginia (1992). Visit to Small Universe. Masters of Modern Physics. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9780883187920.
  • Trimble, Virginia (1987). "Existence and nature of dark matter in the universe". Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. 25: 425–472. Bibcode:1987ARA&A..25..425T. doi:10.1146/annurev.aa.25.090187.002233.
  • Hansen, Carl J.; Kwaler, Steven D.; Trimble, Virginia (2012). Stellar Interiors: Physical Principles, Structure, and Evolution (2 ed.). Springer. ISBN 9781441991102.
  • Trimble, Virginia (1975). "The origin and abundances of the chemical elements". Reviews of Modern Physics. 47 (4): 877. Bibcode:1975RvMP...47..877T. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.47.877.
  • Motions and structure of the filamentary envelope of the Crab Nebula (Thesis).
  • Virginia Trimble; Thomas R. Williams; Katherine Bracher; Richard Jarrell; Jordan D. Marché; F. Jamil Ragep, eds. (2009). Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer. ISBN 9780387351339.


  1. Motions and structure of the filamentary envelope of the Crab Nebula (Thesis).
  2. "9271 Trimble (1978 VT8)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  3. "Valencia Honorary Doctorate Biography".
  4. "George Van Biesbroeck Prize".
  5. "UCI Observatory profile".
  6. "Virginia Trimble Honored by AAS and IAU | American Astronomical Society". Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  7. Trimble, Virginia (1992). Visit to Small Universe. Masters of Modern Physics. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 286. ISBN 9780883187920.
  8. "Behind a Lovely Face, a 180 I.Q." Life. 1962-10-19. pp. 98–99. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  9. "The Twilight Zone: Princess Twilight". 2012-11-02.
  10. Virginia L. Trimble (1996-09-02). "Affirmative Action And Women In Science: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc?". The Scientist.
  11. Robyn Williams (2000-07-08). "World's Best Telescopes: Interview with Virginia Trimble". The Science Show.
  12. "Valencia Honorary Doctorate Acceptance Speech". Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  13. "IAU Directory Page".
  14. "AAS Past Officers".
  15. "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 6 February 2018.

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