Williamina Fleming

View All / Footstep 8

Williamina Fleming

20th Century

At 20, Williamina went to the USA with her new husband but they soon separated. Williamina, with her infant son Edward Pickering Fleming, got a job as housekeeper to Edward Pickering, Director of Harvard College Observatory. He saw her potential and employed her on his staff where she soon became head of department. Fleming classified 10,351 stars and was honoured worldwide as the leading woman astronomer of her day.

Dundee has a fine record in astronomy, with the excellent Mills Observatory at Balgay Hill, further out of the centre but well worth a visit. Her plaque is on the Ewing Building on the University of Dundee campus and, if you look up to the roofs you will see present day technology searching the skies!

Image of Mills Observatory, Balgay Hill, Dundee. Copyright GSR Photographic