Women of the RAS

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RAS public lecture, 12 January 2016

by Dr Mandy Bailey

From its beginnings in 1820, the RAS, following the social habits of the time, only accepted men as Fellows of the Society. Despite this a number of notable women, including Caroline Herschel and Annie Cannon, were given Honorary Fellowships .Then in 1886 Miss Pogson, of the Madras Observatory was nominated for Fellowship but it was to be another 20 years before the first women were elected as Fellows of the RAS in their own right. The 14th of January 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of that election and this talk will look at those 20 years, the changing social habits of that time and consider such questions as: what happened about Miss Pogson; were women accepted in other societies; why did the King have to get involved? There are some notable names amongst the first elected women, including: Annie Maunder; Mary Proctor and the intriguing Fiammetta Wilson. This talk will give a brief look at their work and what it was that made them stand out.