The Woman Who Measured The Universe
For example Einstein never “saw” the image of a black hole.
There’s a story that shows all these aspects really well. The protagonist is one of the most influential women in the history of Modern physics: Henrietta Swan Leavitt, the woman who measured the Universe.
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Henrietta Leavitt was an American woman working at the observatory of Harvard to measure important parameters of hundreds of stars. Thanks to her calculations, it was possible to understand that the luminosity of some celestial bodies, called cepheids, follows a particular rule. As a consequence of this relation, in 1908 physicists discovered how to calculate the distance (which is the most difficult thing to derive in Astronomy) of thousands of stars.
By repeating this procedure, it was possible to plot the luminosity variation in time. the members of the Harvard observatory were able to see that the period of these stars was nearly constant.
But there’s more, Henrietta noticed something that none of their colleagues could see. In the Spring of 1904 She began to study the Magellanic Clouds, two nebulous objects firstly seen from Europeans in the 16th century.
n 1921 Edwin Hubble used Leavitt’s relationship between a Cepheid’s pulse rate and its brightness to measure the distances of Cepheids located in a number of nebulae. He discovered that the Cepheids were so far distant that they were beyond the Milky Way;
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