‘Friend of the stars’. This is how Margherita Hack defined herself in a sort of autobiography published in 1998. A life, hers, marked from the beginning, because, by chance or fate, that 12 June 1922 in Florence the astrophysics and science popularizer was born right near via of the Hundred Stars. ‘Research manager’, academic, but also activist and supporter of the secular state and of causes such as animal protection and equality for all, Margherita Hack, whose 100th anniversary is celebrated tomorrow, has spent a good part of her life in Trieste, a city that in these days celebrates it with events, shows and the reopening of its Observatory at the Inaf Astronomical Observatory. Toscana doc, Hack moved to Trieste in 1964, going down in history not only as the first Italian woman to earn a professorship at the city’s university, but also as the first female director of an Astronomical Observatory in Italy, leading the one in Basovizza for 23 years. , from 1964 to 1987, and becoming the engine that brought Italian observers to the forefront at an international level. After two years of closure due to Covid, on Monday the Specola, the observation station where astrophysics operated, consisting of a ground floor, where an exhibition has been set up with a new historical-informative path, is open to the public again, and of a first floor where there is the dome and the relative telescope. Special visits are scheduled today and tomorrow, while at the Scientific Imaginary it will be possible to participate in short meetings “In memory of Margherita”, to discover astrophysics through tales and demonstrations by her colleagues.

Tomorrow evening Galileo’s Journey – Galileo’s Journey, a multimedia work produced by the Tartini Conservatory, will be staged in the Tartini room. The anniversary in the city, however, began with some controversies, raised in April by the world of science, on the ownership by the Hack Foundation to deal with the cataloging of the 18 thousand books on astrophysics and of her husband Aldo, destined to become a fund. Controversy that had led the Municipality to set up an ad hoc Commission to reassign the post. These days the memory of astrophysics unfolds throughout Italy, starting from the homeland, where today and tomorrow public conferences are scheduled on the theme “Florence remembers Margherita Hack in the centenary of her birth” organized by the INAF headquarters in Arcetri, where the researcher carried out her degree thesis in the 1940s, from the Galileo Museum and from the University and Municipality of Florence. Tomorrow the video project “The thousand lives of Margherita Hack” organized by Sofos Aps will be presented in Bologna. The sculpture dedicated to her, donated by the Deloitte Foundation to the Municipality, will be inaugurated on Monday; the ceremony will be followed by a concert for string trio by the Milan Philharmonic – LaFil. Margherita Hack died on 29 June 2013 in Trieste. A few weeks before her in her home in Roiano she had met a 7-year-old boy who wanted to ask her some questions about the stars. Not everything has an answer, it was the lesson of astrophysics. ” We have facts – she explained to the little ‘pupil’ – and we need to study them ”.