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Women in STEM - Chung-Pai Ma

Chung-Pei Ma 馬中珮 is a cosmologist and astrophysicist. She was born in Taiwan and was a celebrated concert violinist by the time she got to high school in 1983. By the time she was ready to go to college, Chung-Pei was deeply interested in physics and astronomy, and she received both her Bachelors degree and her PhD. in physics from MIT.

After graduation, Chung-Pei spent about 5 years as a physics professor for the University of Pennsylvania. In 2001, she fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming a part of UC Berkeley’s Department of Astronomy.

Most of Chung-Pei’s work has centered on astronomy and dark matter. Between 2011 and 2016, Chung-Pei and the team she leads found some of the largest super-massive blackholes in any of the galaxies. One of those blackholes is the NGC 1600, which is 17 Billion times the mass of our sun, and is in a very isolated part of the galaxy, which is not super common. In fact, Chung-Pei compared it to, “seeing a skyscraper in the middle of a very small town.”

Chung-Pei has won many awards over the course of her career, mostly related to her groundbreaking theory and work related to structure growth in the universe and non-linear gravitational clusters.

For even more interesting information on the life of Chung-Pei Ma, check out her

Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Chung-pei

And after you finish that, watch this NOVA documentary about her work related to discoveries of super-massive black holes on YouTube:

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