The first moon landing was possible thanks to a woman

Google Doodle made a recent tribute, with a colorful illustration, to a woman that made possible the first moon landing.

Dilhan Eryurt and Google Doodle.

Turkish mathematician and astrophysicist worked for NASA in the 1960s. / Photos: Wikimedia, Google

The Woman Post | Maria Lourdes Zimmermann

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Leer en español: Primer salto a la luna, fue por una mujer

The Doodle image is that of Dilhan Eryurt, the Turkish mathematician and astrophysicist who worked for NASA in the 1960s with a huge contribution to the project.

Born in western Turkey in Izmir in 1926, she discovered an interest in mathematics and a passion for astronomy , always the only woman among many men dedicated to a subject that was mainly male at the time. Eryurt graduated from both majors at age 20 at Istanbul University.

From then on she optimized her professional time. Eryurt was in charge of opening the astronomy department at the University of Ankara, then she went to the United States as a postgraduate fellow at the University of Michigan and on her return in 1953 she completed her doctorate again in Ankara, where she became an associate professor .

Shortly after the end of World War II, in 1959, she moved to Canada to work for the International Atomic Energy Agency of this country. There she spent two years with Alastair Graham Walter Cameron, a space astrophysicist and one of the founders of the field of nuclear astrophysics at Harvard University.

Back in the United States, she worked on identifying stellar models at Indiana University's Goethe Link Observatory and jumped into NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on a scholarship from the National Academy of Sciences.

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In her extensive career as an astrophysicist, Eryurt studied the properties and evolution of the sun. The development throughout her life of innumerable scientific studies allowed that years later, her calculations were the center of the Apollo 11 trip to the moon.

Her research contributed not only to scientific knowledge, it also allowed NASA to develop the technology required for the historic leap to the lunar satellite.

Throughout her career, Dilhan Eryurt surpassed gender and ethnic boundaries, being the only woman at NASA's Goddard Institute for a time, and also being the first Turkish scientist at the Middle East Technical University as Google highlights in their tribute to her.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to travel the moon, but that great leap for humanity was made possible by the efforts of countless people. Dilhan Eryurt was one of the astronomers and scientists responsible for that historic Apollo 11 journey , and for her efforts she received the Apollo Achievement Award for her contribution to the lunar mission landing. That day, among a hundred men, while everyone was waiting for the Apollo to take off, she was there, she was visible and unique.

Until 1973 and after teaching at the University of California, she returned to Turkey to found the astrophysics department at the Ankara Middle East Technical University. For years she dedicated herself to transmitting her knowledge to youth and continued to publish and reap awards throughout her life.

At the age of 85 in Ankara, she died on September 13, 2012 from a heart attack, we wll remember her for having opened the way for women in the field of astrophysics,  breaking down barriers in her time and inspiring the world.

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