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How shall we remember Caroline Herschel?

18 Apr 2018, 19:30 UTC
How shall we remember Caroline Herschel?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Standing at just 4 foot 3 inches under the looming 40-foot telescope her brother designed, Caroline Herschel’s physical stature parallels that of her prominence in the History of Science, often shadowed by the accomplishments of her brother William. In the history of science, it is often a methodological challenge to incorporate the accomplishments of women. While it is true that historians may go through the historical record and find a plethora of brilliant and fascinating women, the fact of the matter is that there was no woman-equivalent of Einstein — that is, a historical figure whose name is synonymous with scientific genius. This is, of course, not because there were no women who rivaled Einstein’s intelligence, but because throughout much of recorded history women have lived in societies which imposed limits on their lives. As such, the character of the history of science is overwhelmingly male.
In the case of the Herschels, for example, there is no doubt that William contributed to the discipline of astronomy in a more “objective” sense than did Caroline. William Herschel is best known for the discovery of Uranus, but he also undertook detailed star surveys, coined the term “asteroid,” and essentially discovered the existence ...

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