Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

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Born and educated in Icons-flag-gb-eng.png England, Cecilia Helena Payne (1900-1979), married Icons-flag-ru.png Russian astronomer Sergei Gaposchkin. Initially studying at Cambridge University, she was one of the first astronomy graduates to enter Harvard College Observatory, in the Icons-flag-us.png United States. She studied the spectra of stars and suggested in her doctoral thesis that the different strengths of the absorption lines were a result of temperature differences, rather than elemental continent. She also suggested that hydrogen was the most abundant element in stars. Her ideas were originally dismissed, but finally accepted in 1929.


  • Universe by Martin Rees, ISBN 978-1-4093-7650-7