Light & Verity

A peak for stargazers

Mountain peak named for former Yale professor.

Left: Manuscripts & Archives. Right: Courtesy Aaron Nicholson.

Left: Manuscripts & Archives. Right: Courtesy Aaron Nicholson.

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Yale astronomy professor Beatrice Hill Tinsley (1941–81) spent her career looking to the heavens, but she’s now got a piece of the earth named in her honor. The New Zealand Geographic Board recently named a peak in the nation’s Kepler Mountains for Tinsley, who grew up in New Zealand.

Tinsley, who taught at Yale from 1975 until her death from melanoma six years later, first broke new ground with her 1966 doctoral dissertation, which showed how to calculate the evolution of galaxies—leading to new insights on the expansion of the universe. “She could have done so much more if she had lived longer—many decades, preferably,” says her friend Virginia Trimble, an astronomy professor at the University of California–Irvine. Aaron Nicholson, an amateur historian in New Zealand, led the campaign to name peaks for Tinsley and her fellow New Zealand astronomer Sir William Pickering.  

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