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Science and Philosophy

Mathematicians, Physicists & Astronomers

These sciences are closely akin, as physicists and astronomers use mathematical models to describe the workings of the universe.

  • Annie Jump Cannon (born 1863, died 1941)

    American astronomer.

    • Discovered 300 variable stars, five new stars, and a spectroscopic binary
  • Irène Joliot-Curie (born 1897, died 1956)

    French physicist. Daughter of Pierre and Marie Curie.

    • Working jointly with her husband, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, artificially produced radioactive elements by bombarding other elements with alpha particles
  • Marie Curie (born 1867, died 1934)

    Polish-born French chemist known for her studies of radiation.

    • Studied radioactive substances, particularly radium
  • Lise Meitner (born 1878, died 1968)

    Austrian physicist.

    • Worked with Otto Hahn on the discovery of nuclear fission
  • Vera C. Rubin
    • First female guest investigator at the Mount Palomar Astronomical Observatory
  • Maria Cunitz (born 1610, died 1664)
    • Translated Kepler''s tables of planetary motion from the Latin
  • Caroline Lucretia Herschel (born 1750, died 1848)

    English astronomer.

    • Sister of William Herschel (discoverer of Uranus), she continued his work, discovering several comets and nebulae
  • Maria Mitchell (born 1818, died 1905)

    American astronomer.

    • Discovered a comet; first woman admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Williamina Fleming (born 1857, died 1911)

    Scottish-American astronomer.

    • Discovered white dwarf stars
  • Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (born 1900, died 1979)

    American astronomer. First woman to receive a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard.

    • Asserted that the sun contained a greater ratio of hydrogen than the earth
  • Helen Sawyer Hogg

    Canadian astronomer and educator after whom asteroid 2917 is named.

    • Wrote The Stars Belong to Everyone
  • Jocelyn Bell-Burnell (born 1943)

    British astronomer.

    • Discovered the first pulsar, in 1967
  • E. Margaret Burbidge

    English astronomer. First female director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, 1972-73.

    • Developed instrumentation for the Hubble space telescope
  • Sonya Kovalevskaya (born 1850, died 1891)

    Russian mathematician.

    • Winner of the French Academy of Science''s 1888 Prix Bordin
  • Emilie du Chatelet (born 1706, died 1749)

    French mathematician. A close friend of Voltaire.

    • Translated Newton''s Principia Mathematica into French
  • Mary Fairfax Somerville (born 1780, died 1872)

    Scottish mathematician.

    • Wrote The Mechanism of the Heavens, a popularization of the works of Newton and Laplace
  • Florence Nightingale David (born 1909, died 1993)

    English statistician.

    • Wrote Games, Gods, and Gambling, a classic in the field of probablility theory
  • Mina Rees (born 1902)

    American mathematician.

    • First female president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Evelyn Boyd Granville

    American mathematician.

    • Developed computer programs used in NASA''s Mercury and Apollo projects
  • Rósa Péter (born 1905, died 1977)

    Hungarian mathematician.

    • Wrote Recursive Functions in Computer Theory
  • Shirley Ann Jackson (born 1946)

    American physicist.

    • Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 1995-
  • Chien-Shiung Wu

    Chinese-born American physicist.

    • Proved that identical nuclear particles do not always exhibit identical behaviors

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