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14 June 2014

Amy Weston (1988 - ) astronomer

The six-year-old Weston was inspired by the solar eclipse in northern New England in 1994, and vowed to be a scientist. After education at the elite private school Phillips Exeter in New Hampshire , with completion of the advanced track for physics and a special program with NASA and Caltech, Weston, now as Amy did a gender studies major and astronomy minor at Colby College in Maine. That she was known as transgender and lesbian created difficulties, but she completed the astronomy courses, did independent research, and worked as a teaching assistant for the astronomy labs. She was noted for her independent work, and her determination to get the best image of spiral galaxies. Amy did her senior research on how the space race directed gender construction in the 1960s.

She began work at NASA three weeks after graduation, and is today an associate instrumentation engineer with a team charged with figuring out what happened in the first 10^34 seconds after the Big Bang.
“Gender is complicated in ways that send the smartest physicists running for cover. It’s not logical like astronomy is; it’s slippery and prone to evaporating completely before you can understand what’s going on.”
*not the photographer

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