Rebecca Elson was an astronomer. Her principal work focused on globular clusters, teasing out the history of stellar birth, life and death. Born in Montreal, Quebec, of Canadian and US parents, she studied at Smith, St Andrews, and the University of British Columbia. She took her PhD at Cambridge, where she won an Isaac Newton Studentship. She started publishing poems while working at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, and researched at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics. In 1991 she returned to the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge to work on the first Hubble data. She died in Cambridge in 1999, aged 39.