The Women Who Mapped the Universe And Still Couldn’t Get Any Respect
In 1881, Edward Charles Pickering, director of the Harvard Observatory, had a problem: the volume of data coming into his observatory was exceeding his staff’s ability to analyze it. He also had doubts about his staff’s competence–especially that of his assistant, who Pickering dubbed inefficient at cataloging. So he did what any scientist of the latter 19th century would have done: he fired his male assistant and replaced him with his maid, Williamina Fleming. Fleming proved so adept at computing and copying that she would work at Harvard for 34 years–eventually managing a large staff of assistants.
So began an era in Harvard Observatory history where women—more than 80 during Pickering’s tenure, from 1877 to his death in 1919— worked for the director, computing and cataloging data. Some of these women would produce significant work on their own; some would even earn a certain level of fame among followers of female scientists. But the majority are remembered not individually but collectively, by the moniker Pickering’s Harem.
Some graffiti found in Pompeii’s ruins:
- Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!
- Restituta, take off your tunic, please, and show us your hairy privates.
- I screwed the barmaid.
- Apollinaris, the doctor of the emperor Titus, defecated well here.
- I screwed a lot of girls here.
- Sollemnes, you screw well!
- Theophilus, don’t perform oral sex on girls against the city wall like a dog.
Nice to see nothing has changed.
I love this.
I am laughing so hard
someone basically wrote “secundus is gay” on the wall humankind has not changed at all
Archeology: the discipline most reassuring to me about the state of humankind.
the one about having no chamber pot is in our latin textbook„