I discovered Caroline Herschel a few years back when she was the inspiration for a Google Doodle. I became obsessed and wanted to know as much as I could about her. She was most notably the sister of William Herschel, astronomer to King George, and also the man who discovered Uranus. What most people don’t know is her own contribution to science. Early in life she contracted typhus; her mother thought this was the end of her life as a woman. Thankfully her father and brother believed there was more for her. After moving to England she assisted William and even became an astronomer in her own right. Please do yourself a favor and take a moment to look at the Caroline Herschel Objects.
This got me thinking about other notable women in science. The further down I searched in this rabbit hole, the more I discovered.
Before Caroline (long before) there was Hypatia. Not much is actually known about the life of Hypatia, but of course there doesn’t mean there isn’t speculation!
If you are in the mood for a graphic novel try The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. A Steampunk graphic novel of Ava Lovelace in an alternative universe using computers to fight crime! Who would say no to that??! Or if you are looking for a more traditional historical novel, the library will soon be getting the forthcoming novel Enchantress of Numbers.
To return to Caroline Herschel, Stargazer’s Sister is a novel that tells her imagined life. From her early days, seeing her first solar eclipse, almost dying from typhus, being rescued by her brother William, and being brought to England where Caroline serves William as his caretaker, assistant, and research partner. It is only when William announces his plans to marry that Caroline’s life falls apart.
Then I discovered Mary Anning through reading Remarkable Creatures. A fictional account of a Mary Anning, who had a knack for finding fossils. The story begins with Mary being struck by lightning as an infant, and the discovery that would revolutionize paleontology, and shake the religious figures of the time. Mary finds a friend and champion in Elizabeth Philpot. Or, you could read Curiosity: A Love Story by Winnipeg writer Joan Thomas.
I first learned of the women of NASA by watching a video about Margaret Hamilton. Who was Margaret Hamilton? Oh, just the woman who put astronauts on the Moon. Then I kept hearing of this book (and movie) Hidden Figures, the true story of the women who made space travel possible, and won the space race for the USA.
You can also try Rocket Girl, available on Overdrive.
Women in Science: 50 fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World is new to the library, and I have yet to receive it. I am (not so) patiently waiting for my hold!