Person: Maunder, Annie Scott Dill
Annie Scott Dill Maunder was a Northern Irish astronomer and mathematician who studied the mathematical tripos at Cambridge then worked at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. She was the first to find evidence of the movement of sunspot emergence from the poles toward the equator over the sun's 11-year cycle.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Annie Russell was home educated before she received her secondary education from the Ladies Collegiate School in Belfast, which later became known as Victoria College.
- Due to restrictions of the period, however, Annie was not allowed to receive the B.A. degree that she would have otherwise earned.
- Annie Russell was appointed as a mathematics teacher at the Ladies' College, Jersey, but did not find that job satisfying.
- By taking this job, Annie took a large pay drop, as she had previously briefly been working as a school teacher on a salary of £80 per annum and, in addition, accommodation was included.
- The British Astronomical Association had been founded in October 1890 by Walter Maunder, with support of others, to provide a society more aimed at amateur astronomers.
- It was while here in Greenwich that she met and worked with Walter Maunder, head of the Photographic and Spectroscopic Department in the Greenwich Observatory, the man she would go on to marry in 1895.
- It was while in India in 1898, again on an expedition organised by the British Astronomical Association, that Annie shot the longest coronal streamer on photographic record.
- Annie and Walter Maunder's book, The Heavens and their Story, was published in 1908, crediting them both as co-authors.
- It was usual at this time for a woman to either use a male pseudonym, or to include a man as co-author, but in the preface, Walter acknowledged that Annie had done almost all of the work for the book.
- Moreover, she spent 35 years as Editor of the British Astronomical Association's journal (Walter Maunder had been one of the founders of the Association in 1890) from 1894.
- Although not able to work there in an official capacity, Annie returned to the Greenwich Observatory voluntarily during the years 1915-1920, to fill spaces left vacant by those fighting in World War I.
- Being 17 years Annie's senior, Walter died in 1928 almost 20 years before she did, leaving her to continue her astronomical work alone.
- Annie herself passed away on 15 September 1947 following a short illness.
- The name Maunder is still remembered in scientific circles today, though many forget that it represents not just Walter, but Annie too.
- The lunar crater Maunder is named for the pair, as is the Maunder minimum, the name used for the period of time around 1645 to 1715 during which sunspots became exceedingly rare.
- In 2016, the Annie Maunder Medal was created, a prize given in recognition of public engagement in science.
- 2018 saw a blue plaque unveiled in County Tyrone, where she was born, and in June of that year, the Royal Observatory Greenwich announced its instalment of a new telescope, the Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope (AMAT).
- Annie Maunder's basic mathematical training, thoughtful publications, editing of journals and membership of professional organisations make it clear that she was a full participant in the astronomical community.
Born 14 April 1868, Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland. Died 15 September 1947, Wandsworth, 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