Keeping my pledge to write a short blog post about an outstanding woman in science for Ada Lovelace Day, I have chosen the curious little sister of the famous astronomer Sir William Herschel. Her name was Caroline, Caroline Herschel.
From what I’ve read about her, she was a small framed woman, that worked hard in keeping her brother focused on what he loved, scanning the night sky. Not only did she entertain guests, keep the house, sing and care for her sibling, she also fell in love with the stars as she accompanied her brother on his many nightly scans.
Considering all the chores, the singing lessons and the long nights, she played a big part in her brothers success and even got her name immortalized on an asteroid. Her second name, to be correct. Oh, and a moon crater too.
I’ve received a few emails regarding this post. I’m sorry if I made it look like all Caroline Herschel did was take care of her brother. I did not mean to pass on that message. I wouldn’t have picked her for Ada Lovelace Day if that were the case.
Considering her difficult upbringing, the fact that she was a woman in an age where only men were taken seriously in science, living with a very talented and demanding brother, I considered her impact and determination toward science to have been quite impressive. Thus my choice.
I could have easily mentioned another more famous and generally known female scientist, but I enjoyed learning about her life and thought it would be interesting to share the fact that there was a great woman doing incredible work in astronomy. Even if she was overshadowed by her brother.