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Annie Jump Cannon commemorated on US Dollar Coin

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Cannon was born on December 11, 1863, in Dover, Delaware. Her father, Wilson Cannon, was a state senator, while her mother, Mary Jump, taught Annie the constellations at a young age and ignited her interest in the stars. Cannon graduated from Wellesley College, where she studied physics and astronomy.


Annie Jump Cannon was a world-famous astronomer. An astronomer is a scientist who studies the universe. She invented a system for classifying the stars that is still used today. Cannon faced many obstacles. She was almost deaf, likely due to scarlet fever. But she overcame them and became a pioneer in science. She was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate degree from Oxford University.


On Nov. 7, the U.S. Mint released the Reverse Proof version of the American Innovation coin honoring Delaware.
Minted at the San Francisco Mint, the new coin features an inverted proof finish with a frosted background. All of the design elements are polished to the same mirror-like finish


The American Innovation $1 Coin–Delaware recognizes astronomer Annie Jump Cannon who developed a system for classifying the stars that is still used today. The coin’s reverse features a silhouette of Annie Jump Cannon against the night sky, with a number of stars visible. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” ANNIE JUMP CANNON,” “CLASSIFYING THE STARS,” and “DELAWARE.” The obverse (heads) features a dramatic representation of the Statue of Liberty in profile with the inscriptions “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “$1.” The obverse also includes a privy mark of a stylized gear, representing industry and innovation. The year of minting, mint mark, and inscription “E PLURIBUS UNUM” are incused on the edge of the coin.


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Never heard of her I'm afraid, not surprising given the low exposure that academic women got until recently.

Williamina Fleming, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Rosalind Franklin, etc etc


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11 hours ago, michael8554 said:

Never heard of her I'm afraid, not surprising given the low exposure that academic women got until recently. Williamina Fleming, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Rosalind Franklin, etc etc Michael

In the course of things, Cannon published a lot more. She was interested in doing that. And she mentored others among the computers. In any large enterprise, there will be a range of actions and interests. Over 80 women worked at Harvard between the 1880s and 1930s. Fleming was not even the first. Others soon worked at Yerkes and Lick. Sociology is whatever it is and societal attitudes change slowly. They just look rapid in retrospect. I had a history teacher who finally got us to differentiate "the American revolution" from "the war for independence." His point was that "the American revolution" took place from 1756 to 1763 and it was a decade brewing after that until the effects of the revolution were undeniably perceptable. So, too, with women in astronomy. 

You certainly must know Caroline Herschel.

I found the book, The Unforgotten Sisters by Gabriella Bernardi very helpful, despite its stylistic problems. Christine Kirch as the first woman to be a professional astronomer. Starting in 1776, she was paid 400 thalers a year by the Berlin Academy of Prussia.  Christine Kirch was the daughter of Gottried Kirch and Maria-Margaretha Winkelmann-Kirch. Winkelmann-Kirch has her own entry. She worked and socialized among astronomers, including Christoph Arnold Sommerfeld, before meeting Gottfried Kirch. She was his third wife and 30 years his junior. Their children were raised in the family business. Following the death of her husband, Winkelmann-Kirch was offered a post in Saint Petersburg after showing sunspots and other phenomena to the Tsar, but she refused because her son, Christfried, accepted a post at the Berlin Observatory. She died three years later. 



Edited by mikemarotta
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11 hours ago, mikemarotta said:

You certainly must know Caroline Herschel.


Despite the prejudices there were some exceptional women accepted at "Royal Societies":

Mary Sommerville

Who taught Lord Byron's daughter Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, a.k.a. Ada Lovelace.

Lepidopterist Margaret Fontaine.

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It's great to see her remembered in this way. I'm a keen reader of astronomy history so I do know of her work and her contribution but spreading knowledge of it is a great thing.


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On 06/03/2021 at 03:09, michael8554 said:

Despite the prejudices there were some exceptional women accepted at "Royal Societies": Mary Sommerville Who taught Lord Byron's daughter Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, a.k.a. Ada Lovelace. Lepidopterist Margaret Fontaine.

Again, we look back and the years 1830 to 1880 get collapsed but it was a lifetime that people experienced as 365 days a year. So, it can be hard for any of us to obtain the right perspective. I do point out that the numbe of possible "royal" patronages is limited by the number of monarchs willing to take on an expense in return for the prestige of having one. On the other hand the British Association for the Advancement of Science was founded to allow opportunities (to women) not allowed in the Royal Society. It was at their first meeting, in answer to a challenge from Samuel Taylor Coleridge that Willian Whewell first spoke the word "scientist." (See The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World by Laura J. Snyder (Broadway, 2011), though Wikipedia cites another origin. " In fact, Whewell came up with the term scientist itself in 1833, and it was first published in Whewell's anonymous 1834 review of Mary Somerville's On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences published in the Quarterly Review.[17] (They had previously been known as "natural philosophers" or "men of science").  

Anyway, the same trend was evident in the USA and elsewhere. In music, the royal patron and the music chamber were replaced by the impressario and the concert hall. It was a consequence of the commercial revolution and the rise of capitalism which replaced feudal society. (That's another long arc that we compress, of course).


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The American Innovation series will run through 2032. Each state and territory will have a coin. In addition to the one from Delaware for Annie Jump Cannon, Maryland launched this one. It celebrated the Hubble Space Telescope. The tie-in to Maryland is the Goddard Space Flight Center there.)


I just ordered 100 of the Philadelphia Mint issues. I wanted Denver, but they were sold out.

(BTW, just to note, I also am a customer of the British Royal Mint and have their Newton and Hawking 50p commemoratives. I bought two of each as they were issued and gave one of each to a friend who teaches science in high school.)


Edited by mikemarotta
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