By M. T. Brück
Born in eire within the mid-nineteenth century, Agnes Mary Clerke completed popularity because the writer of A background of Astronomy in the course of the 19th century. via her quarter-century profession, she turned the major commentator on astronomy and astrophysics within the English-speaking global. This biography describes not just the existence and paintings of this outstanding girl, but additionally chronicles the improvement of astronomy within the final many years of pre-Einstein technological know-how. alongside the way in which, it introduces a number of the nice figures in astronomy of that age, together with Huggins, Lockyer, Holden, and Pickering.
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Extra resources for Agnes Mary Clerke and the Rise of Astrophysics
43 44 The History of Astronomy The usual topics of numerous popular books – accounts of the solar system and the planets – were taken for granted; her account began where these left off. The description ‘popular’ in the book’s title meant a non-mathematical treatment ‘to enable the ordinary reader to follow with intelligent interest the course of modern astronomy’ – though the result was far from light reading. The 500 page History was remarkable for its extraordinary thoroughness. The author’s breadth of knowledge, her capacity for assembling and collating data, were enormous.
A. Proctor, and her friendly correspondent Edward Holden. Meantime, among Agnes Clerke’s Edinburgh Review articles were two of current scientific interest. One, ‘Volcanoes and volcanic action’ (April 1883) was an opportunity to describe the Vesuvius eruption of 23 April 1872 (which she had herself seen) as recorded by an expert eyewitness, Luigi Palmeiri of Naples Academy, whose account had been translated into English by the Irish geologist Robert Mallet in 1873. A range of other publications on allied topics, some historical, The History published included Humboldt’s Cosmos and Archibald Geike’s recent famous Textbook of Geology (1882).
10 He concluded that ‘it well deserves a place beside Professor Grant’s History of Physical Astronomy, to which it will form an admirable supplement’. An extraordinary aspect of the first edition of Agnes Clerke’s History was that its author, living in London, should have worked for so long on such a weighty project unknown to the local astronomical community. Margaret Huggins, wife and collaborator of William Huggins, had long wondered (like the admirers of Sir Walter Scott in his anonymous days) who the ‘Unknown’ author of the article on the Chemistry of the Stars in the Edinburgh Review in 1880 might be.
Agnes Mary Clerke and the Rise of Astrophysics by M. T. Brück