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Astro Women - Birthdays #932908 08/01/20 09:46 AM
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Maria Mitchell was a true pioneer woman. She didn't brave a physical wilderness. Hers was the harder job of pioneering higher education for women. She was the first American woman to discover a comet, the first to be elected to scientific societies and the first woman professor of astronomy.

Maria Mitchell

In her own words, America's first woman professor of astronomy tells of her meetings with the great and good of the nineteenth century. Maria Mitchell's (1818-1889) sister Phebe collected excerpts from journals and letters to present a pot pourri of Maria's life, ideas and work.

Maria Mitchell - in Her Own Words


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Re: Astro Women - Birthdays [Re: Mona - Astronomy] #932935 08/08/20 07:30 PM
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Svetlana Savitskaya was born on August 8, 1948. She was a Soviet aviator who set several FAI world records as a pilot. (FAI is the Fédération aéronautique internationale - in English, the World aeronautical federation.) As a cosmonaut, she was the second woman in space, the first woman to carry out a spacewalk, and the first woman to fly into space twice.


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Re: Astro Women - Birthdays [Re: Mona - Astronomy] #932945 08/12/20 08:56 AM
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On August 12, 1919, Anglo-American astrophysicist Margaret Burbridge (nee Peachey) was born in Cheshire, England.

Margalit Fox's obituary in the New York Times:
Quote
She was considered one of the foremost astronomers in the world, long regarded as a trailblazer for women in the field.

Dr. Burbidge was the first woman to serve as director of the Royal Observatory, the storied British institution. She was also a contributor to the design of instruments carried aboard the Hubble Space Telescope and a recipient of the National Medal of Science, bestowed in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan.

“She has a huge imprint on the history of modern astronomy and cosmology and nuclear astrophysics,” George Fuller, a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego, where Dr. Burbidge taught for many years.


Burbridge made notable contributions to the theory of quasars, to measurements of the rotation and masses of galaxies, and was the lead author on a groundbreaking paper describing how chemical elements are formed in the depths of stars through nuclear fusion. She was the first woman to be president of the American Astronomical Society.


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Re: Astro Women - Birthdays [Re: Mona - Astronomy] #932979 08/20/20 05:54 AM
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Margaret Hamilton – computer scientist and systems engineer – was born on August 17, 1936.

She was NASA's lead developer for Apollo flight software. This was way back in the 1960s when software development was in its infancy. She was a pioneer in the field and invented <i>software engineering</i> as an engineering discipline. The Apollo software was so successful, it was adapted for Skylab and the Space Shuttle.

She said about the Apollo software, “There was no second chance. We all knew that.”


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Re: Astro Women - Birthdays [Re: Mona - Astronomy] #933003 08/26/20 04:09 AM
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Sarah Frances Whiting was an American physicist and astronomer, born August 23,1847.

She was appointed by Wellesley College in Boston, Massachusetts as its first professor of physics in 1876. Invited to attend lectures given by Edward Pickering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she was inspired to start teaching a course on Practical Astronomy at Wellesley. She taught several astronomers including Annie Jump Cannon. Whiting helped with the establishment of the Whitin Observatory, of which she was the first director. The observatory is still in use at Wellesley College.


Mona Evans
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Re: Astro Women - Birthdays [Re: Mona - Astronomy] #933069 09/12/20 03:40 PM
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Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson was born on August 26, 1918. She was an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA. Her calculations of orbital mechanics were important for the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights. Her life featured in Margot Lee Shetterly's book Hidden Figures, which was also - somewhat loosely - made into a movie.

These days there are computers to help out with complex calculations. But we have to remember that Johnson did all of it by hand. NASA was only just beginning to use computers. (Margaret Hamilton's pioneering work in software engineering didn't come until the Apollo program.)

Johnson died earlier this year, aged 101. I saw a delightful little mathematical tribute to her passing: She died in her prime.


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