Person: Everett, Alice
Alice Everett was a mathematician and astronomer who studied the mathematical tripos at Girton College, worked at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and then at the Potsdam Astrophysical Observatory. She had a second career working on optics at the National Physical Laboratory. Her final career was working on the early developments of television broadcasting.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Joseph Everett, born near Ipswich, Suffolk, had become a mathematics teacher at Mr Thorowgood's school at Totteridge, near Barnet before winning a scholarship to study mathematics and physics at Glasgow University.
- Alice attended Miss Hardy's preparatory school in Belfast, then went to The Ladies' Collegiate School in Belfast.
- Everett was faced with some difficult decisions.
- But what did Everett want to study?
- Everett then chose to study at the Queen's University of Belfast with the intention of taking the degree examinations of the Royal University of Ireland.
- The decision was that only men were eligible so, despite coming top, Everett was denied a scholarship.
- At Girton College, Everett studied the mathematical tripos.
- One of Everett's lecturers at Cambridge was William Henry Young who had been appointed as a fellow in 1886.
- Everett sat the Royal University of Ireland's examinations in 1887 and was awarded a B.A. with honours in mathematics and mathematical physics.
- Also in 1889, Everett sat the Cambridge mathematical tripos examinations and was ranked as a 'senior optime', equivalent to a Second Class degree, but, as a woman, could not be awarded the degree.
- A 'senior optime' degree was a disappointment to Everett who had hoped to be ranked among the Wranglers.
- Everett's application had been supported by Robert Stawell Ball, the Royal Astronomer of Ireland, and she took up her position on the staff at Greenwich on 15 April 1890, being one of four women employed for Christie's experiment.
- Everett was a member of the Association from its founding.
- In 1892 Everett was one of three women proposed as fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society, the other two being Annie Russell and Elizabeth Brown (1830-1899).
- Although Everett was assigned to the Astrographic Department when she was appointed, for her first task she was re-computing meridian transit observations until June 1891.
- Three of the "lady computers" who had begun work at the Royal Observatory Greenwich soon left and, at Everett's suggestion, Annie Russell joined her taking up her appointment on 1 September 1891.
- It is hard to know now exactly what Everett did since the records at the Royal Observatory do not contain nearly as much information for women as the records do for the men working there at the time.
- Everett resigned her post at the Royal Observatory Greenwich on 5 July 1895 and took up a 3-year appointment at the Potsdam Astrophysical Observatory, starting on 1 October 1895.
- At Potsdam Everett continued to work on the Carte du Ciel project publishing Galactic Longitude and Latitude of Poles of Binary-Star Orbits (1896).
- This small institution had only one member of staff besides Miss Whitney, and Alice Everett no doubt was pleased to have the opportunity of working there, even temporarily.
- Everett, now without a job, returned to England.
- Everett was employed for a year in the optical laboratory of Hilger, a company founded by two German precision optical instrument technicians Adam and Otto Hilger in 1874.
- On 9 October 1917 Everett joined the National Physical Laboratory as a Junior Assistant in the Physics Division.
- Remarkably, Everett started on yet another career.
- The Regent Street Polytechnic, which today is the University of Westminster, offered evening classes and Everett took classes in practical wireless there in the winters of 1926-27 and 1927-28.
- Even before this year, Everett had become a founder fellow of the Television Society which had been formed on 7 September 1927.
- Everett now began to undertake research on the apparatus, called a mirror drum, used to produce the scanning light beam for televisions.
- One such device was being developed by the Baird Television Company with Everett making substantial improvements to the mirror drum and on 30 January 1933 Everett and the Baird Television Company jointly applied for a patent.
- Everett continued to support the Television Society and in 1938 she was awarded a pension in recognition to her services to physical sciences.
- In 1939 Everett was living at 7 Riverside, Lower Hampton Road, Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex.
Born 15 May 1865, Glasgow, Scotland. Died 21 July 1949, Hampton Hill, Middlesex, England.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Scotland, Women
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive