Google doodle honors U.S.'s first professional female astronomer

Aug. 1, 2013 at 1:26 PM
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Google's search page doodle is honoring Maria Mitchell, the first female U.S. professional astronomer, born on this date 195 years ago.

In 1847, she discovered a comet through a telescope on the roof of the building housing a bank in Nantucket, Mass., where her father worked.

By 1865, Mitchell was teaching astronomy as a professor at Vassar College.

Several recent Google doodles have featured women in science; last month early DNA researcher Rosalind Franklin was featured, and in May anthropologist Mary Leakey was honored with a doodle.

"The Doodle team and I have been doing a lot more doodles of women, especially in science and tech fields," doodler Jennifer Hom, responsible for the Mitchell tribute, told USA Today.

The doodle depicts Mitchell atop the bank building, observing the night sky through a telescope.

Google is one of a number of tech companies fostering women in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"We really want to shine a spotlight on these women," Kristen Gil, a Google vice president who heads up the Women@Google program, said.

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