The Hundred Stars by Margherita Hack, Queen of Heaven

Margherita Hack could only be born in Via delle Cento Stelle in Florence. It was June 12, 1922, a century ago, and that day in space there was certainly an alignment of planets, a cosmic bang. The fact is that Margherita, perhaps also thanks to this strange coincidence of fate, became the lady of heaven: the first woman to lead the astronomical observatory in Trieste, internationally renowned scientist, curious and ingenious popularizer, civil rights activist, inflexible vegetarian, indomitable cyclist, passionate around cats, telescopes and any plastic, lively, cultural form.

Margherita’s hundred lives

Over the course of his many lives, Hack has frequented scenes, music and musicians. With Ginevra Di Marco and Francesco Magnelli (who will pay tribute to Fiesole on June 22) was the protagonist of a beautiful and gripping show such as “Earth’s soul (seen from the moon), a journey through popular songs and fulminating anecdotes told by Margherita in a simple, effective and formidable way. She also became a “rock star actress” in the video “Alfonsina and the bike” (dedicated to Alfonsina Strada, first champion of two wheels), wonderful song written by Têtes de Bois. Andrea Satta, the leader of the band, remembers: “He said to me: ok, I’m making this video with you, but I want to play the trumpet. A volcano, a hurricane”.

Funny, non-conformist, convinced atheist, she has united science and rights in a continuum fighting for unmarried couples, for equality between women and men. Hack, a girl of the last century, studied a lot, she studied, shared and wrote books, perhaps to stop the whirlwind of thoughts on paper. From “My life on a bike” to “Stars, planets and galaxies. A journey through the history of astronomy from antiquity to the present day”an essay dedicated to the youngest, up to “Nine Live Like Cats. My First Ninety Secular and Rebellious Years” where she speaks directly to the “soup brothers”, born with her from the explosion of particles, and recalls the importance of the principles that have guided her life: the taste for “unrest”, work ethic, stubbornness, civil and moral commitment, trust to himself and his own ideas. ” And above all the posthume essay, published after his death in Trieste in 2013: “Italy yes, Italy no”which brings together his thoughts on scientific, political, social and ethical issues, a living legacy for future generations.

What a type of Margherita, forever in a stubborn and opposite direction, proud, supportive, in love with Aldo – her great childhood friend who became her husband -, passionate about travel, heaven, infinity and different humanity. The girl who was against fascism in connection with the racial laws, and who never looked down on the powerful and their arrogance. Many tribute to this century with Hack. Starts with volume off Federico Taddiafriend and “accomplice” in many adventures of astrophysics, which is called accurate “Born in Via delle Cento stelle” (Mondadori Ragazzi, page 184, 16 euros, with illustrations by Marianna Balducci). It’s an intimate portrait – between cats, bicycles and bad words – of a very modern woman: “the decision not to have children, her husband’s choice to give up her career to follow Margherita in her own, the struggle to overcome prejudice at work, love of research.And precisely “research” is the word Hack has chosen as his spiritual testament to be understood in its personal meaning: “do not be content with what you know, do not be intimidated by what you know does not”.
Taddia writes: “she never believed in fate: instead she believed in profit, in the possibility of realizing her dreams. She who had so many dreams: from athletics, where she hoped to win a medal at the Olympics, to cycling with which it was love at first sight, up to the stars, discovered in school a little randomly, and which illuminated her path to the end ”.

There are many initiatives to remember Margherita that start from Florence, his city, where two-day public conferences will be held on June 11 and 12 organized by the Inaf headquarters in Arcetri, where the researcher carried out his dissertation, and by the Galileo Museum, the University of Florence and the Municipality of Florence. June 9 and 10 in Trieste there will be a series of shows in memory of the scientist, which on the 11th and 12th will be accompanied by special visits to the Specola Margerita Hack, the Observatory in Basovizza (Trieste).
Finally, on June 13, in Milan, the sculpture dedicated to the astronomer will be inaugurateddonated by the Deloitte Foundation to the Municipality of Milan.

Google doodle dedicated to the discovery of the Asteroid Hack

But these days, one looks above all in the sky. Perhaps you will see a celestial body located in the space between Mars and Jupiter’s orbit light up. It’s the asteroid ‘8558 Hack’ discovered by Andrea Boattini and Luciano Tesi of the Astronomical Observatory of the San Marcello Pistoiese. The lady of the stars continues to shine up there and reminds us of that “We must live in peace, regardless of our origins, our beliefs, our skin color, our language and our traditions. We learn to tolerate and value differences. We strongly reject all forms of violence, oppression, the worst of which is war.”. Immortal Margherita.

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