Saturday, July 04, 2009
Henrietta Swan Leavitt (July 4, 1868 – December 12, 1921) was an American astronomer and the deaf daughter of a Congregational minister. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Leavitt went to work in 1893 at the Harvard College Observatory in a menial capacity as a "computer", assigned to count images on photographic plates. Study of the plates led Leavitt to propound a groundbreaking theory, worked out while she labored as a $10.50-a-week assistant, that was the basis for the pivotal work of astronomer Edwin Hubble and radically changed the theory of modern astronomy, an accomplishment for which Leavitt received almost no credit during her lifetime.
Read Henrietta Swan Leavitt: a Star of the Brightest Magnitude, free from the American Chemical Society.