Annie Maunder: Plaque for 'forgotten woman' of science

media captionAnnie Maunder: Plaque for 'forgotten woman' of science

A blue plaque has been unveiled to County Tyrone woman Annie Maunder to acknowledge her contribution to the world of science.

Born in Strabane, Annie Scott Dill Russell later won a scholarship to Girton College, Cambridge.

She became one of the first female scientists to work at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

Annie married astronomer Edward Walter Maunder and worked alongside him recording the dark spots on the sun.

The Maunders went on many expeditions to observe eclipses and published their research culminating in the 'Maunder Minimum'.

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, the Maunder's great granddaughter Dorrie Giles explained that the conventions of the time meant that much of Annie's work was not fully attributed to her.

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"Books tended to be published in Walter's name because although she went to Cambridge university and got the best mathematics degree, at that time women were not given degrees.

"They were very much a team and Annie went on all the expeditions to see the solar eclipses," Ms Giles added.

image captionThe ceremony was attended by Annie's great granddaughter by marriage, Dorrie Giles.

The Royal Astronomical Society appointed Annie Maunder as a fellow in 1916, 24 years after her name was first put forward.

Welcoming the blue plaque in Strabane, Ms Giles believes women scientists should be encouraged more to "get their message out there and make it seem possible for young women to go into science and stick with it".

"It gives young women the confidence to believe they have something to contribute. I think it is something Annie felt very passionate about," she added.

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