International Women’s Day is 8 March. But I didn’t know there was a day dedicated to Women Scientists – I should have suspected it though. This year and (every year) it was 11 February. We missed it, but we can still bring forth Women Scientists and doubly honor them for International Women’s Day. These three were pioneering women scientists, two American, one French, who surrounded Rosa Bonheur, the namesake of our Book Room.
Natalie Micas was Rosa Bonheur’s partner in life. She was a painter, like Bonheur, but also an engineer. She was born in Paris on the 26th of April 1824. Nathalie Micas was represented in the Hall of Science at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago by a railway brake she had patented and tested on the grounds of the Château de By.
American Anna Klumpke (born in San Francisco in 1856) was Rosa Bonheur’s second partner to whom she left nearly her entire estate. Anna was from a family of 8 children, 5 lived to be adults, all but one were girls. Anna was a prize-winning painter, sister Julia and Mathilda were musicians and two other sisters Augusta and Dorothea were scientists. All excelled and had important careers in Paris after their mother brought them here to further their educations in 1877.
Dorothea Klumpke Roberts (born August 9, 1861) was an astronomer. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1886 and PhD in 1893 from the University of Paris. She was the first women to present a thesis in mathematics. She was the first woman to receive a doctorat in astronomy from this university. Dorothea was Director of the Bureau of Measurements at the Paris Observatory where she discovered and named three nebulae. She was made an Officier of the French Academy of Sciences – up to that time, this honor had not been awarded to a woman. Today the Academy still awards the Klumpke-Roberts prize for research on nebulae each year.
Augusta Déjerine-Klumpke (born 15 October) was an American-French medical doctor known for her work in neuroanatomy. She was the first female intern to work in a hospital in Paris, after several years knocking on doors to persuade the powers that were to let her in. During this time, she explained what is today called Klumpke paralysis, or an injury to the nerves controlling arm movements. She was recognized with awards for her discoveries including both Chevalier then Officier de la Légion d’honneur.
These three Women Scientists are all connected to the Château de By, Rosa Bonheur’s home. Thank you to the Château for bringing them to our attention and supplying the photos.
When the Château de By reopens to visitors be sure to make a reservation to visit. 12 rue Rosa Bonheur, 77810, Thomery (near Fontainebleau)
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