She Filled the Sky: The Awesome Astronomy of Annie Jump Cannon
This week’s post you get an awesome cartoon by the fab Dale DeBakcsy from the Illustrated Women in Science series at MadArtLab in addition to the usual written profile! Enjoy!
350,000 stars classified. It’s one of astronomy’s unbreakable and frankly not even approachable records, the scientific equivalent of the Ripken Streak. Seven hours a day, six days a week, for forty-four years, one woman bent herself to the task of creating an ultimate chart of the night sky, with each star classified not only by position, but by surface temperature and spectral signature. Hunched over a magnifying glass, she could categorize three stars a minute where others might take three minutes to categorize one star. She was astronomy’s Iron Woman – Annie Jump Cannon. Continue reading Annie Jump Cannon
Susan La Flesche Picotte was an Omaha Indian who became the first Native American physician and spent her life caring and campaigning for her people.
Susan was born on 17th June 1865 on the Omaha reservation in Nebraska. Both her parents were mixed race and her father, Iron Eyes (Joseph La Flesche), was the chief of their tribe. It was a time of much change and upheaval for Native Americans, and her father tried to manage this by encouraging people, including Susan and her three sisters, to adapt and become educated in the ways of the white world around them. Continue reading Susan La Flesche Picotte
Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley is one of the most remarkable living sheroes of our time, having created a multibillion dollar business that also established a new way to bring women into the workforce.
Although Shirley made her fame and fortune in England, she began her life in the industrial city of Dortmund, Germany in 1933 as Vera Buchthal, the daughter of a Jewish judge and a non-Jewish Viennese mother. Her father lost his position as the Nazi’s began their systematic persecution of Jews and other minorities, and by July 1939 Vera’s parents placed her and her older sister on the Kindertransport, an organized evacuation effort that took 10,000 mostly Jewish children out of Europe to Britain nine months before World War II broke out. The five year-old Vera said goodbye to her parents in Vienna and took the train to begin a new life in the UK. Continue reading Dame Stephanie Shirley
When Barbara Brenner died, on 10th May 2013 at the age of 61, her partner of a lifetime, Susie Lampert, kept her promise: she made sure that Barbara’s obituary said “she died after a long battle with the breast cancer industry”.
That battle had started twenty years earlier. In 1993, Barbara Brenner had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 41 at that time. A year later, she joined the board of Breast Cancer Action (BCAction), the feminist grassroots organization of which she would become the first full-time executive director in 1995.
Continue reading Barbara Brenner
At the base of Tamworth Castle can be seen the statue of an armed woman protectively holding a child. The child is Athelstan but the woman is not his mother. Her name is Aethelflaed (Æthelflæd), and she was one of the greatest warrior-leaders in Anglo-Saxon history. Continue reading Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians
Julia Morgan was a groundbreaking female architect who worked on over 700 buildings during her epic career, paving the way for women in a male-dominated profession.
Julia was born to a wealthy family in San Francisco 1872. She was the second of 5 children and excelled at maths at an early age, encouraged by her mother. When she was still young she met her mother’s cousin, the architect Pierre Le Bron, who sparked in her the desire to become an architect too. Continue reading Julia Morgan
Gaspara Stampa was born in 1523 to a bourgeois family. Her parents were known for hosting cultural salons, and they ensured that Gaspara and her siblings were educated in Latin, literature, and music.
She became an excellent lute-player and singer, as well as an exceptional lyric poet. When she began to host her own cultural salons, she often performed her own work. Modern Western poetry was born from the Medieval culture of performance; poets would sing their own compositions, since most people were illiterate. However, in the later middle ages, there was a shift towards writing and reading rather than singing and listening. Gaspara was one of the last poets who was equally skilled at writing and performing, and she quickly became a much-admired figure in the cultural circles of her native Venice. Continue reading Gaspara Stampa