Maria Kirch


On 29 December 1720, the German astronomer Maria Kirch died in Berlin. Her father, a Lutheran pastor, believed that she deserved an education equivalent to that given to young boys of the time. From by her father and her uncle, she learnt mathematics and astronomy going on to study with and work together with the amateur astronomer Christoph Arnold. Through Arnold she got to know the astronomer Gottfried Kirch and despite the fact that he was 30 years older than her they married. Kirch was official astronomer of the Berlin Royal Academy of Science and her and Maria ran the Academy’s observatory together for many years. In 1702 she became the first woman to discover a comet but the credit for the discovery was given to her husband. When Gottfried died in 1710, Maria applied for his position arguing correctly that she had done half of the work in the past. Despite her having published independently and having an excellent reputation as well as the active support of Leibniz the Academy refused to award her the post. She worked in various other observatories until 1717 when her son was appointed to his father’s position, Maria once again becoming the assistant. Despite having more than proved her equality to any male astronomer Maria never really received the recognition she deserved. However, she was admitted by the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Idea for this post: The Renaissance Mathematicus, Sorry Caroline but you were not the first, Maria was.


Antoinette Brown Blackwell


[im Juni 2014 geschrieben]

ABBAntoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921): sie war die erste amerikanische Pastorin, eine Frauenrechtskämpferin, Naturphilosophin und Evolutionsforscherin, Zeitgenossin von Charles Darwin. Ihr mutiges, aufrechtes Leben, in dem sie überholte Strukturen ihrer Zeit aufbrach und doch zugleich altbewährten Werten treu blieb, ist im besten Sinne des Wortes innovativ. Zeit Ihres Lebens war sie beruflich aktiv, Ehe und Familie – sie hatte 5 Töchter – waren eine partnerschaftliches Unternehmen. Ihr Leben war bewegt und spannend, und so ist das Buch auch geschrieben. Continue reading