Some Women in Science

Ref: C2342960

The name of Edwin Hubble is widely known these days - just think 'Stunning images of stars and galaxies from the Hubble Space Telescope'. The phrase 'the Big Bang' likewise has become widely known through, among other things, programs like 'Horizon' and 'Sky at Night' or Brian Cox's 'Wonders of the universe'. Less well known is the fact that these epoch-making discoveries involved the patient and dedicated work of a whole band of women scientists and researchers, whose names and work are only now, a century later, being given their due acclaim and credit. This session seeks to present the life and times of some of the women involved in this epic tale, as well as presenting an accessible account of their work.

Course aim

To introduce learners to a small but influential band of women scientists, who are nowadays less widely known than their celebrated male counterparts.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • The Tutor's desire is to present a self-contained Session that will speak to a wide range of participants. There will be some tutorial material and illustrations - maybe even some short activities (to be finalised!)

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Give a brief account of the times and conditions in which some of the pioneering women astronomers worked as the 19th Century became the 20th century.
  • Tell the tale of Willemina Fleming and her trail-blazing contribution
  • Describe the contribution of Annie Jump Cannon and her living legacy today.
  • Describe the contribution of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, her contribution to Hubble's work in the 1920s and her living legacy today
  • Outline the career of Cecilia Payne, the academic hurdles she faced and her contribution to astronomy.

How will I be taught?

  • Your WEA Session will be in the context of a spoken account with appropriate illustrations and handouts such as e.g. a Timeline of the years around the turn of the Century, 'Great Telescopes of the 1900s', etc..

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Your WEA Session is, on this occasion, a one-off taster for courses the Tutor has delivered at other venues, centred around 'Great Scientists, their lives and discoveries' and 'More Great Scientists, their lives and discoveries.'

What else do I need to know?

  • Some interest in past times would be relevant, as might a desire to learn something of the story of modern astronomy. The women featuring in your session well illustrate some of the obstacles they needed to overcome in order to achieve a position and make a contribution to the wider science scene.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • I will seek to present a self-contained, if brief, account of this seminal period in astronomy, and the discoveries being made. However, should you care to do some Google research around it - well, that would be super.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • 'Great Scientists, their lives and discoveries' 'More Great Scientists, their lives and discoveries.' These are two courses your Tutor has successfully run in several local WEA Branches.

Download full course information sheet

Some Women in Science

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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