Maria Mitchell had many firsts in her life, among them, the first American woman astronomer, the first professor of astronomy at Vassar College and the first female member of AAAS. | NOAA Central Library
The first woman to become a member of AAAS was astronomer Maria Mitchell of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Mitchell, discoverer of a comet (known as Miss Mitchell's Comet) and recipient of a medal from the King of Denmark, joined in 1850. August 1, 2013 would have been Mitchell's 195th Birthday. To celebrate her life, Google honored Mitchell with a Doodle.
Mitchell was born on Nantucket, August 1, 1818 into a large Quaker family. Her father helped Mitchell develop her love of astronomy, instructing her in surveying and navigation. She was known for helping whaling ships with their navigational computations for their long trips.
It was on October 1, 1847, while surveying the sky from the roof of the Pacific National Bank on Main Street, where her father was a cashier, that Mitchell spotted a small blurry object that did not appear on her charts. It was a comet.
She became professor of astronomy at Vassar College in 1865, the first person (male or female) appointed to the faculty. Mitchell died on June 28, 1889, at the age of 70.
Born to Quaker parents William and Lydia Mitchell on Nantucket on August 1, 1818, Mitchell was an avid learner. - See more at: http://www.mariamitchell.org/about/about-maria-mitchell#sthash.wCRFObDx.dpuf