It is with heavy hearts that the National Women’s Hall of Fame shares the passing of 2007 Inductee and Board of Director emerita member Dr. Judith L. Pipher.
“Judy was a both force of nature and a treasure to us all. Her clarity, persistence, passion and perfection came through in every single action she took in life,” said National Women’s Hall of Fame Board President Betsy Fantone. “During the many years I knew her, I appreciated Judy’s kindness, her sense of adventure, and her unwavering dedication to her family and friends, her field of study, and to the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Seneca Falls community. To say she will be sorely missed does not capture the depth of our grief as we mourn the loss of such an incredible woman.”
Judy was inducted into the Hall for her contributions to the world of science and education. During her time as a doctoral student at Cornell University, her interests and research led her to study infrared and submillimeter astronomy, becoming the first woman to specialize in these fields.
“Judy was so good in her science that one colleague told her that he ‘almost forgot she was a woman’,” recalls Fantone. “Her reply was to tell him that was a good thing. After all, she was a scientist just like he was and gender had nothing to do with it!”
After completing her doctoral studies at Cornell, Judy joined the faculty of the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Rochester, where she would go on to teach and continue her research for the next 31 years. Judy’s work is considered to be profoundly influential on the advancement of astronomy and how we understand the evolution of our universe.
As a part of the National Women’s Hall of Fame Board of Directors, Judy was instrumental in advocating for and establishing a strong community for Inductees to get to know and celebrate one another. Judy helped to shape and manage the Inductee nominations collection process and the judging process. She served as a regional and national advocate for the importance of celebrating women’s achievements.