Interplanetary Podcast #132 – Celia Payne-Gaposhkin – Orbits

This week we welcome The Interplanetary Podcast’s episode: #132 – Celia Payne-Gaposhkin – Orbits.

Cecilia Helena Payne

The reward of the young scientist is the emotional thrill of being the first person in the history of the world to see something or understand something. Nothing can compare with that experience” – Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin

Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin born OTD 10th Mary 1900, in British was an American astronomer and astrophysicist who in her 1925 doctoral thesis said the stars were composed primarily of hydrogen and helium.

But when Payne’s dissertation was reviewed, astronomer Henry Norris Russell, dissuaded her from concluding that, because it would contradict the current scientific consensus that the elemental composition of the Sun and the Earth were similar.  Payne consequently described her results as “spurious”

A few years later, astronomer Otto Struve described her work as “the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy”  Russell also realized she was correct when he derived the same results. In 1929, he published his findings in a paper that admiringly acknowledged Payne’s earlier work and discovery; nevertheless, he is often credited for the conclusions she reached.


The Interplanetary Podcast, the weekly podcast that puts the ace back into space with Jamie Franklin and Matthew Russell.  Featuring the weekly space news, top name interviews, regular guest David Baker with his spin on the month. Deep dives into space science topics, the space word of the week, mind-blowing space facts, Space mission run downs and special reports from space places around the globe.

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