Monday, March 1, 2021

Celebrating Math-Women -- Caroline Herschel

      In the United States, March is National Women's History Month -- and today I am looking back to previous postings that celebrate astronomer and mathematician Caroline Herschel.   In her collection Letters from a Floating World, artist and poet Siv Cedering (1939-2007) has given us a poignant portrait of this math-woman:
 
      Letter from Caroline Herschel
(1750-1848)     by Siv Cedering

     William is away, and I am minding
     the heavens. I have discovered
     eight new comets and three nebulae
     never before seen by man,
     and I am preparing an Index to
     Flamsteed's observations, together with
     a catalogue of 560 stars omitted from
     the British Catalogue, plus a list of errata
     in that publication. William says

     I have a way with numbers, so I handle
     all the necessary reductions and
     calculations. I also plan
     every night's observation
     schedule, for he says my intuition
     helps me turn the telescope to discover
     star cluster after star cluster.                   . . .

The rest of this poem is found here in this posting from 2012.

 Additional poetry that celebrates Herschel may be found at this link.

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