The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel

Emily Winterburn and Sian Prosser

7-8pm, Sat 20 Nov, 2021

Live talk on Zoom

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Caroline Lucretia Herschel (1750-1848), was the sister of the astronomer William Herschel. She worked with him in their homes in Datchet and Slough, and carried out important astronomical work in her own right, eventually earning the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society as recognition for her contributions to the field.

In this talk, Dr Emily Winterburn, author of The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel, will talk about this astronomer’s life and achievements. Dr Sian Prosser, librarian and archivist of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), will share key documents from Caroline Herschel’s working papers held in the RAS archives.

Sian manages the library and archives of the Royal Astronomical Society, making them accessible to researchers and working with colleagues to use them in outreach and education activities.

With a background in languages and a PhD in French medieval manuscripts, she became drawn to working with memory institutions, and since joining the Royal Astronomical Society in 2014 has completed the Certificate in Astronomy at UCL to better understand and interpret the RAS collections, and the people that created them.

Emily Winterburn is currently a primary school teacher in inner-city Leeds; however, she is also an expert on the Herschel family and women within the history of science more broadly. She is the author of The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel as well as several other books on the history of astronomy.

Emily was curator of astronomy at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich for 10 years, before moving to Leeds to work first as a curator at the Leeds History of Science Museum (part of the University of Leeds) and then as a teacher. She completed her PhD on the Herschel family in 2011, out of which came her book on Caroline, several academic articles and chapters in larger volumes.

She is currently working on her contributions to a book on Women in Science; to a new volume on the life of John Herschel and is in the beginning stages of editing one volume in a series for academics and teachers to support work on gender and colonialism in science.

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