#WOTW: Cecilia Payne

Cecilia Payne was female astronomer born in Wendover, England in 1900. Payne won a scholarship to Cambridge, however Cambridge would not give her a degree since she was a woman. She then moved to the U.S. to work at Harvard. She became the first person ever to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy from Radcliffe College, with what Otto Strauve called “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.” She discovered the properties of stars, and that stars could be classified based on temperatures. She was the first woman to be promoted to full professor from within Harvard, and she often is credited to breaking the glass ceiling at Harvard and the field of science for women.

“Your reward will be the widening of the horizon as you climb. And if you achieve that reward, you will ask no other.”

-Cecilia Payne

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