Stupid Girls

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Women of Science: "Harvard Computers" Part 1

Uploaded by on Dec 19, 2011

So, a single mom, immigrant from Scotland, with no formal science training, became a U.S. astronomer: the first ever recognized by the Royal Astronomical Society of London.
post script: "Women of Science: the Harvard Computers" is messed up, by Windows Movie Maker, in processing it down from project to movie. The sound track pops, gaps and even REPEATS in 2 places: a simple, Kevin Macleod tune: butchered. Gets snarled when I use any form of captioning and, since it's a silent movie, captions are necessary. I'm so discouraged: why try to make more, if they're going to look so cheap, after so much hard work? Why bother/
Harvard Computers
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
'Pickering's Harem' standing in front of Building C at the Harvard College Observatory, 13 May 1913.
Edward Charles Pickering (director of the Harvard Observatory from 1877 to 1919) decided to hire women as skilled workers to process astronomical data. Among these women were Williamina Fleming, Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Antonia Maury. This staff came to be known as "Pickering's Harem" or, more respectfully, as the Harvard Computers. This was an example of what has been identified as the "harem effect" in the history and sociology of science.

It seems that several factors contributed to Pickering's decision to hire women instead of men. Among them was the fact that men were paid much more than women, so he could employ more staff with the same budget.This was relevant in a time when the amount of astronomical data was surpassing the capacity of the Observatories to process it.

Williamina Fleming

Fleming was born in Dundee, Scotland, to Robert Stevens and Mary Walker Stevens. She attended public schools in Dundee, and at the age of 14, she became a pupil-teacher. She married James Orr Fleming, and they moved to the U.S. and settled in Boston, Massachusetts, when she was 21. While she was pregnant with her son, Edward, her husband abandoned her, and she had to find work to support herself and Edward.