“T]he human brain is greater yet, because it can comprehend it all.” Maury speaking of the greatness of the Universe.
“A straight line can readily be drawn among each of the two series of points corresponding to maxima and minima, thus showing that there is a simple relation between the brightness of the variables and their periods.” Henrietta Swan Leavitt describing her famous discovery.
“We do our best to increase the sum of human knowledge as pertains to the story of starlight.” Annie Jump Cannon: Celestial Computer 1863-1941
“While we cannot maintain that in everything woman is man’s equal, yet in many things her patience, perseverance and method make her his superior. Therefore, let us hope that in astronomy, which now affords a large field for women’s work and skill, she may, as has been the case in several other sciences, at least prove herself his equal.” Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming: From Housekeeper to Astronomer 1857-1911
Do not undertake a scientific career in quest of fame or money. There are easier and better ways to reach them. Undertake it only if nothing else will satisfy you; for nothing else is probably what you will receive. Your reward will be the widening of the horizon as you climb. And if you achieve that reward you will ask no other. - Cecilia Payne
The Women Who Mapped the Universe And Still Couldn’t Get Any Respect: At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of women known as the Harvard Observatory "computers" helped revolutionize the science of astronomy. Hired by Edward Pickering, these scientists also were given the nickname of "Pickering's Harem".
INSIGNIFICANT the web series is made up of 9 fifteen minutes episodes but can be made into a longer series if preferred. History has given us plenty of material.
ONE: It is 1925, and Cecilia Payne is about to graduate as the first female to receive a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Harvard University. However, in order to give herself a fighting chance to have a successful career, she is going to negate the findings of her doctorate studies which have the potential to change everything anyone knows about the known universe. Her mentor, Annie Jump Cannon, is understandably displeased, and begins a journey carved out of her own memories of what it was like to be one of the original Harvard "computers."
TWO: Cecilia gets a taste of what it was like for the Harvard "computers" when they first started out. At Annie's prodding, Cecilia explains her meeting with Professor Henry Russell to ensure Annie that she has made the right decision in regards to her thesis.
THREE: Cecilia is introduced to the major players in the Harvard "computer" saga via inappropriate means.
FOUR: Cecilia witnesses how the Harvard "computers" began with Williamina Fleming being somehow more reliable as a maid than teaching assistants who can't be bothered with such tedious work.
FIVE: Cecilia watches the "computers" on a night off, unable to completely pull themselves away from discussing work. The four women hatch a plan to symbolically gain more recognition for themselves.
SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT AND NINE....Curious? We can't give it all away.