Person: Clerke, Agnes Mary
Agnes Mary Clerke was an Irish astronomer and writer on both astronomy and biography.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- John William Clerke (born 1814) was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, where he had studied classics but had also taken courses in mathematics and astronomy.
- Clerke began publishing in that year when her articles Brigandage in Sicily and Copernicus in Italy (both written during her time in Italy) appeared in the Edinburgh Review.
- The volumes before G had already been completed so when they invited Clerke to contribute it was to write biographies of famous mathematicians and astronomers whose names began with a letter between G and L.
- Clerke wrote articles for other encyclopaedias such as the article Astronomy for the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
- This text was revised three times for four different editions in Clerke's lifetime (the last in 1902).
- Although Clerke was not a practical astronomer, nor an author of original research articles, she did spend three months at the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope where she was the guest of the director, Sir David Gill, and his wife.
- A Popular History of Astronomy during the Nineteenth Century was only one of many books that Clerke wrote.
- While Clerke was writing this book she was informally offered an appointment at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
- Not all Clerke's writings were on science for she wrote, among several literary contributions, essays on Don Sebastian (1882), the letters of Edward Fitzgerald (1894), and Familiar Studies in Homer (1892).
- Clerke wrote 159 biographies for the Dictionary of National Biography.
- In 1903, with Lady Huggins, she was elected an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society, a rank previously held only by two other women, Caroline Herschel and Mary Somerville.
- The famous eleventh edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica was published in 1910 and Clerke had been asked to contribute articles on both astronomy and its history.
Born 10 February 1842, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Ireland. Died 20 January 1907, London, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Ireland, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive