Person: Shapley (2), Martha Betz
Martha Shapley became a high school mathematics teacher. After marrying the astronomer Harlow Shapley she did outstanding research on eclipsing binary stars.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- However, Martha's early education was not in astronomy.
- Martha had six siblings (one of them died as a baby): Annette (November 1886-1987), Alma (July 1888-1978), Egmont (February 1893-), G Ludwig (1895-1896), Carl (November 1896-) and Louise (December 1898-1988).
- Martha, Egmont, Carl and Louise were all still in full time education.
- Martha Betz had completed high school, been awarded a teacher's taught certificate and had taught for three years at grade school before entering the University of Missouri at the age of eighteen.
- It was while she was a student that she met Harlow Shapley.
- She was an outstanding student, and a better mathematician than Shapley.
- Through Harlow Shapley, Martha Betz gained an interest in astronomy.
- On Monday 15 April 1912 Martha Betz began working as a mathematics teacher at Westport High School at 315 East 39th Street, Kansas City.
- Miss Betz began her work Monday.
- From there, she made frequent visits to Princeton, where Shapley was doing a Ph.D. under Henry Norris Russell.
- His fiancée Martha Betz had arrived earlier from Bryn Mawr, and was waiting for him at her parents' home.
- While Harlow Shapley went on to study Cepheid variables, Martha Shapley continued his previous work in eclipsing binaries.
- In 1921, Harlow Shapley was appointed Director of the Harvard Observatory.
- Martha Shapley accompanied him and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Willis Harlow Shapley became a NASA official involved in developing the project to land a man on the moon.
- Alan Horace Shapley was Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and served as Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Committee for the International Geophysical Year in 1957-58.
- Lloyd Stowell Shapley became a mathematician and economist at the RAND corporation then a professor at the University of California Los Angeles.
- Carl Betz Shapley worked for the National Gallery of Art, and then became a teacher in private schools going on to open his own private school in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
- at Harvard Mrs Shapley's career as a warm and gracious hostess blossomed out to the full, entertaining with equal grace the rich and the poor, famous or humble (sometimes, as with Albert Einstein or Igor Stravinski, both in one person), the geniuses and amateurs, or scared undergraduates.
- The Shapleys loved to entertain; and any occasion for a party was welcomed.
- On each Friday nearest the full moon, when astronomical photography (and most astronomical work in those days was photographic) was curtailed by bright moonlight, Dr Shapley was the host to a Full-Moon Club at his home for graduate students as well as staff.
- Martha, however, also undertook war work using her mathematical skills computing the trajectories of shells for the Navy.
Born 3 August 1890, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, USA. Died 24 January 1981, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Usa, Women
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive