August 1 marks what would have been the scientist’s 195th birthday.
Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818-June 28, 1889) was the first professional female astronomer in US history.
She was also the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Mitchell was born to a Quaker family in Nantucket and grew up looking at stars in her father’s telescope.
On the night of October 1, 1847, while working as a librarian at the Nantucket Antheneum, she discovered a new comet, which became known as the Miss Mitchell Comet.
She received a medal from King Frederick VI of Denmark for the discovery.
In 1865, Mitchell became the first astronomy professor at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
There, she would at times wake up students in the middle of the night so they could study Saturn and Jupiter.
The daily Google doodle honors this woman who was ahead of her times, not only in her academic accomplishments, but in her stance against slavery.
Mitchell used the observatory to host salons discussing current events in politics and feminism and host “dome parties” where everyone would sit around and write poetry on scraps of paper.
“We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry,” she once said, according to the National Women’s History Museum.
She was so influential in the sciences that there is even a crater on the moon named after her, MItchell’s Crater.
Maria Mitchell was a true visionary and a critical figure in recognizing women’s accomplishment in science during a time when female voices were not as influential as that of their male counterparts.
Did you know who Maria Mitchell was before the current Google doodle?