Historical

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"Unlike most research, the search for women in scientific history is not a study where one can just access the card or on-line catalogue, select a name from any one of a number of resources and find some biographical information."
Barry Malpas

This section is dedicated to the phenomenal women who helped make astronomy what it is today.

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Antonia Maury - A Spectral Star

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Henrietta Swan Leavitt - Lady of Luminosity

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Harvard Computers - From Pickering's Harem to Astronomy's Stars

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Caroline Herschel - Celestial Cinderella

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Hypatia of Alexandria  - A Woman Before Her Time

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Annie Jump Cannon - Celestial Computer

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Williamina Paton Fleming - From Housekeeper to Astronomer

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Dorrit Hoffleit - Bright Star

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Maria Mitchell - Coming soon...

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Mary Somerville - Coming soon...

There have been many women who have influenced the course of astronomy. Unfortunately, the accomplishments of these extraordinary women have been inadequately recorded by historians, some of them lost to us forever.

Historians have also attributed some discoveries made by women to men. Hildegard von Bingen (1099-1179), a mystic, scholar, and nun, "proposed a heliocentric universe 300 years before Copernicus [and] wrote of universal gravitation 500 years before Newton," yet you will not find this information in contemporary astronomy books.

Many works in astronomy written by women were credited to their employer or mentor. It was the age in which they lived, an age where women were not permitted to publish under their own name.

It takes a real detective to uncover the histories of women astronomers throughout history. If you are looking for tips on how to research women astronomers, order the Summer 1998 issue of theWoman Astronomer and read "In Search of the Elusive Woman Astronomer" by Barry Malpas.

 

Updated 01.01.2008
theWoman Astronomer 2001-2008

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