Written by – Francesca Bernaschi & Virginia Stagni
Translation by – Julia Perry
In astronomy, a star is defined as a luminous spheroid that generates energy from its core through the process of nuclear fusion.
Then you have those stars that exceed all the others, that will continue shining, forever and always.
They shine with a light so unique and rare, precious for itself and for whomever surrounds it: stars like Margherita Hack.
Had she been a real star, the kind that she herself studied with commitment and dedication, she would certainly have been a hyper giant Red Star.
Hyper giant like her knowledge, her strength, and her tenacity and desire to fight for the country and a better society.
Red like the passion that she put into fighting her battles, like her power to not conform that very much distinguished her genuine and liberal ideals.
Margherita Hack had always been in favor of nuclear research and stem cell research, abortion rights and gay marriage. Difficult topics, usually kept away from the spotlight in the last century but most of all, thanks to her female vigor (we must remember that she was the first woman in Italy to direct an astronomical observatory) these topics have managed to always remain present in the political scene.
Victor Hugo once wrote: “The soul is full of shooting stars.”
Who knows how many Mrs. Hack had in her.
But even the stars eventually dim out due to lack of hydrogen in their nuclei.
And Margherita Hack, sadly, dimmed away this morning at age 91.
But ‘Stella’ Hack, as the atheist she was, loved to endlessly repeat: “When I am present there is no death, and when there is death there will no longer be a me.”
“And I like listening to the stars at night. They’re like five hundred million little bells,” said the Little Prince. Then Margherita Hack good-naturedly smiled, with eyes aimed high towards her sky, her inspiration, life, zeal, her passion.
We hope that, the founder of the bimonthly Astronomy magazine founded in 1978 has fallen asleep forever accompanied by the melody of those bright rattles, her friends.
And why not also imagine her trying to persuade her friend, Giordano Bruno, to become an atheist. Or maybe, just maybe, Giordano Bruno is the one trying to convince Margherita?