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Maria Mitchell and the sexing of science : an astronomer among the American romantics

Author: Renée L Bergland
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, ©2008.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Maria Mitchell was raised in isolated but cosmopolitan Nantucket, a place brimming with enthusiasm for intellectual culture and hosting the luminaries of the day, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Sojourner Truth. Like many island girls, she was encouraged to study the stars. Given the relative dearth of women scientists today, most of us assume that science has always been a masculine domain. But as Renee Bergland  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biographie
Biography
History
Named Person: Maria Mitchell; Maria / 1818-1889 Mitchell; Mitchell; Maria Mitchell; Maria Mitchell; Maria Mitchell, Astronomin.
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Renée L Bergland
ISBN: 9780807021422 0807021423
OCLC Number: 180851908
Description: xviii, 300 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction : Venus in the sunshine --
ch. 1. Urania's island --
ch. 2. Nantucket Athena --
ch. 3. The sexes of science --
ch. 4. Miss Mitchell's comet --
ch. 5. "A center of rude eyes and tongues" --
ch. 6. The shoulders of giants --
ch. 7. The yankee Corinnes --
ch. 8. A mentor in Florence --
ch. 9. The war years --
ch. 10. Vassar Female College --
ch. 11. No miserable bluestocking --
ch. 12. "Good woman that she is" --
ch. 13. The undevout astronomer --
ch. 14. Retrograde motion --
ch. 15. Urania's inversion --
Epilogue --
Acknowledgments --
Notes --
Index.
Responsibility: Renée Bergland.
More information:

Abstract:

"Maria Mitchell was raised in isolated but cosmopolitan Nantucket, a place brimming with enthusiasm for intellectual culture and hosting the luminaries of the day, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Sojourner Truth. Like many island girls, she was encouraged to study the stars. Given the relative dearth of women scientists today, most of us assume that science has always been a masculine domain. But as Renee Bergland reminds us, science and humanities were not seen as separate spheres in the nineteenth century; indeed, before the Civil War, women flourished in science and mathematics, disciplines that were considered less politically threatening and less profitable than the humanities. Mitchell apprenticed with her father, an amateur astronomer; taught herself the higher math of the day; and for years regularly "swept" the clear Nantucket night sky with the telescope in her rooftop observatory." "In 1847, thanks to these diligent sweeps, Mitchell discovered a comet and was catapulted to international fame. Within a few years she was one of America's first professional astronomers; as "computer of Venus"--A sort of human calculator - for the U.S. Navy's Nautical Almanac, she calculated the planet's changing position. After an intellectual tour of Europe that included a winter in Rome with Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mitchell was invited to join the founding faculty at Vassar College, where she spent her later years mentoring the next generation of women astronomers. Tragically, opportunities for her students dried up over the next few decades as the increasingly male scientific establishment began to close ranks." "In this biography, Renee Bergland chronicles the ideological, academic, and economic changes that led to the original sexing of science - now so familiar that most of us have never known it any other way."--Jacket.

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