Ada Lovelace Day event: women and the stars

Logo of Ada Lovelace Day 2018
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Tickets available via Eventbrite

In in this free public lecture, Dr Helen Klus from the Royal Astronomical Society will show how women have shaped our understanding of the universe. From painting prehistoric star maps on the walls of caves, to discovering dark matter in the Galaxy, to commanding space shuttles and walking in space. At the same time, these women have faced tremendous prejudice. Henrietta Swan Leavitt, for example, discovered how to determine the distance to stars. She may have used this to discover that the universe is expanding, but women weren’t allowed to use high-calibre telescopes until the 1960s. And so Hubble made the discovery instead, and his name is on the side of the telescope. Margaret Burbidge, who helped discover how elements are made in stars, had to sneak into Mount Wilson Observatory posing as her husband’s assistant. Many women corresponded with scientists in their husband’s name. Women regularly gained university degrees without being allowed to attend lectures, then worked for free, and were fired upon getting married. Many women were barred from university all together because of their race.

Dr Klus looks at how this history has led to the current climate for women in astronomy, including media representation and the effect of the #MeToo movement, and discusses why diversity is better for everyone.

Doors open at 5.30 pm. Please be aware that there is no admittance once the lecture begins at 6 pm, as tickets will be reallocated to those queuing for no-shows. Thank you.

This independent event is taking place during the same week as Ada Lovelace Day, a worldwide celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. You can follow them on Twitter: @findingada.