Thursday, 1 August 2013

The first American female professional Astronomer.

Maria Mitchell was an American astronomer, who in 1847, by using a telescope, discovered a comet which as a result became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet". She won a gold medal prize for her discovery which was presented to her by King Frederick VII of Denmark. The medal said “Not in vain do we watch the setting and rising of the stars”

Maria Mitchell
She became the first woman member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1848 and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1850. She later worked at the U.S. Nautical Almanac Office, calculating tables of positions of Venus.


She became professor of astronomy at Vassar College in 1865, the first person (male or female) appointed to the faculty.She was also named as Director of the Vassar College Observatory.After teaching there for some time, she learned that despite her reputation and experience, her salary was less than that of many younger male professors. She insisted on a salary increase, and got it. She is also known for her famous quote, "We have a hunger of the mind. We ask for all of the knowledge around us and the more we get, the more we desire."

She was born on 1 August 1818.

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