|Wellesley College Science Lab 1895: Attitude Created Here.|
Today's blog is all on Annie Cannon. (1863-1941)
What was her education like?A rough go at the start. She had hearing damage from fever as a young girl, but in no way did she let it stop her. Annie's interest in astronomy was first sparked as a young girl, when her mother taught her the constellations. She also realized her daughter was super brilliant and told her to go to college and major in science.
At the all women Wellesley College she pursued these interests, learning physics, astronomy, and how to make spectroscopic measurements: the colours of the stars. She then graduated from Wellesley with a degree in physics (1884), became a “special student” of astronomy at Radcliffe College (1894), M.A. from Wellesley College (1907), and was the first woman to receive a doctor of astronomy degree from Groningen University (1921). What really blew everyone away was that she was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Oxford (1925).
Why is she so kick ass?
Because she was on the team of women who mapped and defined every star in the sky they could photograph. And she appears in a Wonder Woman Comic.
|Seen in Wonder Woman #44, because she was that awesome.|
Doctor Cannon became the world's expert in stellar classification, as well as developing and fine-tuning the Harvard system of classification that is studied by astronomy students today. She started by examining the bright southern hemisphere stars. To these stars she applied her system, a division of stars into the spectral classes O, B, A, F, G, K, M. Her scheme was based on the strength of the absorption lines were understood in terms of stellar temperatures, her initial classification system was rearranged to avoid having to update star catalogues.Cannon published her first catalogue of stellar spectra in 1901.
What was she like?
|Cause her nature meant business.|
She travelled extensively, entertained many guests, wrote letters avidly and was an accomplished pianist. She was also an advocate for women's suffrage and a member of the National Women's party. Late in life Cannon said, “In our troubled days it is good to have something outside our planet, something fine and distant for comfort.”
FYI - On Active History this week is a great interview about women in engineering sciences. A must listen!
When you want to know more - head on over to this great bibliography of women in astronomy.