American astronomer Anna Winlock was born on September 15, 1857 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her father, Joseph Winlock, was an astronomer at the Harvard College Observatory. He influenced her interest in astronomy, and in addition, she turned out to be an able mathematician.

When Joseph Winlock died the family needed financial support, so Anna went to the observatory. Her father had volumes of observations, but they were of no use until the data was reduced. Since her father had taught her the principles of mathematical astronomy, she offered to do the reductions. The observatory realized they were on to a good deal. They could get the work done and at a bargain rate. They only paid her - being a woman - half the rate they would have to pay a man. Anna was one of the first “Harvard computers” but there would be further highly competent, but lowly paid, women to follow.

Five years earlier, under the direction of Joseph Winlock, the observatory collaborated with foreign observatories in a project to prepare a comprehensive star catalog. It was divided into zones, and Anna began to work on the section called the "Cambridge Zone" shortly after being hired. Working over twenty years on the project, her team's contribution of the Cambridge Zone was significant to the Astronomische Gesellschaft Katalog. The catalog contains information on more than one-hundred thousand stars, and is used worldwide by many observatories and their researchers. Besides her work on the Cambridge Zone, Anna also contributed to many independent projects. And she supervised the creation of the Observatory Annals (a collection of tables that provide the positions of variable stars in clusters) into 38 volumes.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Mona Evans
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