It was 1924, and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin was on the verge of a breakthrough.
As with every other challenge in her life, Payne-Gaposchkin would not stop. “It was an impatience with the ordinary — with sleep, meals, even friendships and family — that had driven her as far back as she could remember.” After her death in 1979, other scientists would go on to remember her as “the most eminent woman astronomer of all time.” During a time when science was largely a men’s club, she had figured out the chemical makeup of the stars.
In What Stars Are Made Of, Moore takes readers on a meticulously researched tour of Payne-Gaposchkin’s remarkable life, drawn from family interviews, contemporary accounts and Payne-Gaposchkin’s own writings. It’s a riveting tale of a woman who knocked down every wall put before her to get the answers she desired about the cosmos.
She was told to leave school after administrators found they couldn’t meet her insatiable need to learn math and science. During physics lectures at the University of Cambridge, she, like all women, had to sit at the front, forced to parade past male students stomping in time with her steps…
and yet, she persisted, becoming a woman of firsts. In 1925, Payne-Gaposchkin became the first person to receive a Ph.D. in astronomy from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass. In 1956, she was the first woman to be promoted to full professor at Harvard and several months later was the first to chair a department at the university.
➡️ Read more about this inspiration woman here: