Virginia L. Trimble

Picture of Virginia L. Trimble
Professor, Physics & Astronomy
School of Physical Sciences
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1968
M.S., California Institute of Technology, 1965
B.A., UCLA, 1964
M.A., University of Cambridge, UK, 1969
Dottora honoris causa, University of Valencia, Spain, 2010
Phone: (949) 824-6948
Fax: (949) 824-2174
University of California, Irvine
4156 Frederick Reines Hall
Mail Code: 4575
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Structure and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the universe, and of the communities of scientists who study them; history of science; scientometrics
Research Abstract
It has been claimed (probably mostly by historians) that those who will not study history are doomed to repeat it. This cannot quite be true for history of science. No one will again ever write Newton’s Laws of Motion for the first time, at least not in our part of the multiverse. What, then, can we hope to learn by studying history of science? Several things, perhaps most important that it is not only the Newtons and Einsteins who are essential to progress. Several of the listed publications deal with the work of scientists you have probably never heard of. A couple of others are plain, old observational astronomy, which is where I started 50-some years ago. Is there a “level playing field” for prospective scientists? Of course not, no more so than in any other human endeavor. And yes, it is still something of an advantage to be male. But a significant reason that astronomers and physicists over the years turn to the history of their subjects is that we discover things we remember as “current events” (perhaps even participated in) have become “history of science.” And there are a couple of publications in those territories as well.
2016: The Quest for Frozen Stars in Single-Line Spectroscopic Binaries in R. van de Weygaert et al. Eds. IAU Symposium 308, The Zeldovich Universe, Cambridge University Press, p. 38-45.
2017: Old/Past/Ancient/Historic Frontiers in Black Hole Astrophysics in A. Gomboc Ed. IAU Symp. 324, New Frontiers in Black Hole Astrophysics, Cambridge University Press p 1-7.
2018: VT Impact of World War I on General Relativity [in three parts]: Observatory 138, 46-59, 98-116, and 203-226.
2018: VT What are the Wild Waves Saying? International Journal of Modern Physics D, 27, #4, issue 14: DOI 19, 1142/S03283718300094.
2019: VT, International Cooperation in Astronomy before the IAU, in C. Sterken et al. Eds. Under One Sky: The IAU Centenary Symposium, Proc. IAUS 349, p. 228-233 Inst. of Physics.
2019: VT, Marietta Blau: A Near but Justifiable Miss? In V. Mainz & T. Strom Eds. The
Posthumous Prize in Chemistry (American Chemical Society) Vol. 2, Ladies in Waiting, pp. 67-104
2019: K. Horstman & VT, A Citation History of Measurements of Newton’s Constant of Gravity: arXiv 1811.10556v1, Scientometrics 119, 527-541.
2019: J Cohen, S. Kayser, A.V. Peterson, A. Sargent, VT (communicating author), & D. Weistrop, Uncle Jesse and the Seven Early Career Ladies of the Night, American Journal of Physics, 87, No. 10.778-783.
2020: H. Boffin & VT My Companion is Bigger than Your Companion, Observatory 140, 1-10,
2020: VT, obituaries of E. Margaret Burbidge (Nature 580, 586 and Observatory 140, 213-223) and of Lodewijk Woltjer (Observatory 140, 74-80, and BAAS 52, 0306).
2020: K. Horstman & VT Correlation of the time from submission to acceptance of astronomical papers with gender of the lead author. Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 52, 0204.
2021: VT, Astronomy meets the periodic table, or, how much is there of what, and why? In V.V. Mainz, & G.S. Girolami, Editors, 150 Years of the Periodic Table, Springer, p. 387-407.
2021: VT, The Origin and Evolution of the Chemical Elements, in M.A. Malkan & B. Zuckerman Eds, Origin and Evolution of the Universe, from Big Bang to Exobiology (second edition), World Scientific, p. 110-159 of Japanese translation; p. 63-94 of 2020 English edition.
2022: V. Trimble & D. Weintraub Eds. The Sky is for Everyone (autobiographical chapters by women astronomers, including VT + historical material). Princeton University Press.
2023: VT. Banachiewicz and the Importance of Accurate, Appropriate Timing: the Myriad Motions of the Moon, wth Appendices on Radio Astronomy, Astronomical Societies, and Astronomical Journals, in B. Wszolek & A. Kuzmicz Eds. Annales Astronimcae Novae (ISSN 2719-3616) Vol 4, pp. 227-244.
2023: B.J.T. Jones, V.A. Martinez, & V. Trimble. The Reinvention of Science (World Scientific).
2024: Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, Springer, VT subeditor in charge of articles by deceased authors.
Professional Societies
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 2022)
American Astronomical Society (fellow 2020)
American Physical Society (Fellow, 1988)
International Astronomical Union (member 1973)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow)
Sigma Xi,The Scientific Research Honor Society (fellow 2020)
Phi Beta Kappa (elected 1960)
American Association of Variable Star Observers
Geological Society of America
American Chemical Society
American Association of Physics Teachers
National Society of Black Physicists
European Astronomical Society
European Physical Society
Royal Astronomical Society (foreign associate)
Astronomische Gesellschaft
History of Science Society
Society for the History of Astronomy (UK)
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