Women of the 17th Century Science: The Case of Maria Cunitia and Elisabeth Hevelius

04.10.2022 | 04.10.2022

Dr. Katarzyna Borkowska, L. & A. Birkenmajer Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw

Maria Cunitia (1610–1664) and Elisabeth Hevelius (1647–1693) are both remembered as pioneers of astronomy among women. Maria as the author of the earliest surviving astronomical work written by a woman (Urania propitia, 1650), Elisabeth as the first woman portrayed as an astronomer (in the illustrations to Hevelius’ Machinae coelestis). With their scientific work, each in her own way, they proved the ability of female mind, as testified by husbands of both women: Elias von Löven in the preface to Maria’s Urania propitia, Johannes Hevelius in his Machinae coelestis. I am going to compare the scientific journey of both women in the wider context of female intellectual endeavours of 17th century.

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