Women in Early British and Irish Astronomy: Stars and Satellites

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jul 25, 2009 - Science - 277 pages

Careers in astronomy for women (as in other sciences) were a rarity in Britain and Ireland until well into the twentieth century. The book investigates the place of women in astronomy before that era, recounted in the form of biographies of about 25 women born between 1650 and 1900 who in varying capacities contributed to its progress during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There are some famous names among them whose biographies have been written before now, there are others who have received less than their due recognition while many more occupied inconspicuous and sometimes thankless places as assistants to male family members. All deserve to be remembered as interesting individuals in an earlier opportunity-poor age. Placed in roughly chronological order, their lives constitute a sample thread in the story of female entry into the male world of science.

The book is aimed at astronomers, amateur astronomers, historians of science, and promoters of women in science, but being written in non-technical language it is intended to be of interest also to educated readers generally.


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About the author (2009)

Mrs Mary Brück is a retired senior lecturer in astronomy at the University ofEdinburgh, now an Honorary Fellow in the School of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. Her present interest is in the history of astronomy, especially the contributions of nineteenth century British and Irish women. She has done a considerable amount of original research on astronomers (mainly women), including biographical entries in the OxfordDNB (2004), the Dictionary ofNineteenthCentwy BrEt&z Scientists (Thommes, Bristol 2004), Larousse Dictionary ofScientists (Larousse, Edinburgh 1994), the Biographical Encyclopaedia ofAstronomers (Springer 2006), the Biographical Dictionary ofScott&i Women (Edinburgh University Press 2006), and the Royal Irish Academy Biographical Dictionary (forthcoming). She is also the author ofAgnes Mary Clerke and the Rise ofAsirophysics (Cambridge University Press 2002) and coauthor (with H.A.Bruck) of The Perpatetic Asfronomer, the Lfe ofCharles Piazzi Smyth (Huger: Bristol 1988).

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