Mary Brück, a renowned astronomer, began her academic journey as a postgraduate at the University of Edinburgh, where she conducted solar astrophysics research and earned her PhD in 1950. She went on to work as a principal scientific officer at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. Later, she returned to Dublin to work at the Dunsink Observatory, which had recently reopened as a research institute. In 1957, Mary and her family relocated to Edinburgh, and she joined the University as a part-time lecturer. Over time, she became a full-time lecturer and was eventually promoted to a senior lecturer position.
Mary Brück’s research focused on stars, the Interstellar medium, and the Magellanic Clouds. She utilized photographic observations from the UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia to study the structure and evolution of these nearby galaxies. Her findings were published in esteemed scientific journals, including the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Publications of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Nature, and Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Upon retiring, Mary Brück dedicated herself to the history of astronomy, with a particular emphasis on highlighting the often overlooked contributions of gifted women in the field. In recognition of her significant contributions to astronomy and her efforts to promote the achievements of female astronomers, the University honoured her with a Fellowship when she turned 80. Mary continued to deliver public lectures on the topic of women in astronomy until shortly before her passing. As a testament to her inspirational teaching and support to countless undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as her commitment to fostering public interest in astronomy during her retirement, the “Mary Brück Building” was erected at King’s Buildings.