The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science The Age of Wonder discussion

Caroline Herschel

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Kate Sherrod The greatest wonder I find in this book so far -- I am currently in Ch 2, William Herschel on the Moon -- is Caroline Herschel! She hand-fed her brother while he ground the giant mirrors for his telescopes, took his notes and checked his charts on marathon "sweeps" of the night sky so he didn't have to keep losing his night vision looking at an illumined page, kept his charts and observational notes in order, and generally made it all possible. She appears to have really been a scientist in her own right as well as a singer. How sad it is I had not known of her before.

Oliver Thankfully, historians are recently recovering the role of the female in the history of science. Even those who did not engage in 'science' helped their relatives to do so. My favourite story on this topic regards Thomas Henry Huxley's wife, Henrietta: during their honeymoon, Henrietta drew and described the fauna that Thomas had dissected (he was obviously quite serious when he claimed that he didn't wish to put any obstacle in the way of women's advancement in science!).

message 3: by Kristin (last edited Oct 19, 2009 01:49PM) (new) - added it

Kristin I also am fixated on this Caroline Herschel. She lived until she was 97, after years of continued astronomical research following her brother William's death. She received the Gold Medal for this work in 1828 from the Royal Astronomical Society. Vera Rubin was the next woman to receive this accolade, in 1996!

Superblinky I had never heard of Caroline Herschel before reading this book. However I loved reading about her and she has become a heroine of mine.

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