Female Astronomers and Scientists before Caroline Herschel

Gabriella Bernardi

THE UNFORGOTTEN SISTERS: Female Astronomers and Scientists before Caroline Herschel Taking inspiration from Siv Cedering's poem in the form of a fictional letter from Caroline Herschel that refers to "my long, lost sisters, forgotten in the books that record our science", this book tells the lives of twenty-five female scientists, with specific attention to astronomers and mathematicians. Each of the presented biographies is organized as a kind of "personal file" which sets the biographee's life in its historical context, documents her main works, highlights some curious facts, and records citations about her. The selected figures are among the most representative of this neglected world, including such luminaries as Hypatia of Alexandria, Hildegard of Bingen, Elisabetha Hevelius, and Maria Gaetana Agnesi. They span a period of about 4000 years, from En HeduAnna, the Akkadian princess, who was one of the first recognized female astronomers, to the dawn of the era of modern astronomy with Caroline Herschel and Mary Somerville.

The book will be of interest to all who wish to learn more about the women from antiquity to the nineteenth century who played such key roles in the history of astonomy and science despite living and working in largely male-dominated worlds.

Table of Contents

The Three Rs

Part I Timelines from Enheduanna to Sonduk

1. Enheduanna (XXIV BC)
2. Aganice (XX BC)
3. Theano (Sixth Century BC)
4. Aglaonike ((V BC or 200 BC)
5. Hypatia of Alexandria (355 or 370 ca. to 415)
6. Sonduk (?-647)

Part II Timelines from Fatima to Jeanne Dumée

7. Fátima of Madrid (Tenth Century)
8. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)
9. Sophie Brahe (1556-1643)
10. Maria Cunitz (1610-1664)
11. Elisabetha Catherina Koopman Hevelius (1647-1693)
12. Jeanne Dumée (1660-1706)

Part III Timelines from Maria Margarethe Winkelmann-Kirch to Nicole-Reine Étable de la Brière Lepaute

13. Maria Margarethe Winkelmann-Kirch (1670-1720)
14. Maddalena (1673-1744) and Teresa (1679-1767) Manfredi
15. Maria Clara Eimmart (1676-1707)
16. Christine (1696-1782) and Margaretha (1703-1744) Kirch
17. Garielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet
18. Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799)
19. Nicole-Reine Étable de la Brière Lepaute

Part IV Timelines from Louise Elisabeth Félicité Pourra de la Madeleine Du Piérry to Mary Fairfax-Somerville

20. Louise Elisabeth Félicité Pourra de la Madeleine Du Piérry (1746-?)
21. Caroline Lucretia Herschel (1750-1848)
22. Margaret Bryan (1760?-1816)
23. Wang Zhenyi (1768-1797)
24. Marie-Jeanne Amélie Harlay Lefrancais de Lalande (1768-1832)
25. Mary Fairfax-Somerville (1780-1872)


Extent: 179 pages, Black and white/colour images integrated with text
Binding: Paperback
Published: 2016
ISBN: 978-3-319-26125-6

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