May 19

Can you name this important woman whose birthday is May 19?

Catherine ("Kate") Furbish (born May 19, 1834) was an American botanist who devoted her life to documenting, collecting, drawing and  carefully and accurately committing to watercolor the native flora of Maine.  She never married.  She donated her 16 folio volumes of watercolors to Bowdoin College, who recently published some of her collection: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442253766/Plants-and-Flowers-of-Maine-Kate-Furbish's-Watercolors.

Her large collection of dried plants went to the New England Botanical Club, which placed it in the Gray Herbarium at Harvard University, and her collection of ferns went to the Portland Society of Natural History. Two of her own botanical discoveries bear her name: Aster cordifolius L., var. furbishiae, and Pedicularis furbishiae, the Furbish lousewort.

The book Wildflowers of Maine documenting her work is set to be released in July 2017.

Sources:

Wikipedia

Encyclopedia Britannica

 

May 15

Can you name this important woman whose birthday is May 15?

Maria Reiche (born May 15, 1903) was a German mathematician, archaeologist and translator who spent the bulk of her life in Peru investigating and interpreting the Nazca Lines, a series of large geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru.  The figures extend approximately 50 miles and consist of hundreds of lines and geometric shapes and more than 70 animal and human shapes.  You can see the image of a whale above.

Reiche began her work as an assistant to Paul Kosok from the Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, but continued on after he had left.

Most of the lines are made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca Desert. leaving a shallow trench 4 to 6 inches deep.  When this gravel is removed, the light-colored clay earth below is exposed which sharply contrasts the surrounding land surface.

It is most commonly accepted that these Nazca Lines had religious significance, though both Kosok and Reiche believed that they had astronomical purposes.

A children's book was written about Maria Reiche and her work: Maria and the Stars of Nazca.

Sources:

Wikipedia

New York Times obituary

 

May 12

Can you name all of these famous women who share the birthday May 12?

 

Dorothy Hodgkin (born May 12, 1910) was an English chemist and x-ray crystallographer who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1964 "for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances." She is mostly recognized as determining the structures of penicillin and vitamin B12.  She is the only English woman to have ever received a Nobel Prize in any of the three sciences. The Royal Society established the Dorothy Hodgkin fellowship to enable researchers in the early stages of their career to take time out to raise a family or care for a family member.  She is also the second woman in 60 years to have earned the Order of Merit by a king or queen.

Sources:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1964/hodgkin-facts.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Hodgkin

 

Florence Nightingale (born May 12, 1820) was the first woman to have earned the Order of Merit by a king or queen.  She is recognized as the founder of modern nursing.  She professionalized and gave honor to the field of nursing, getting her start as a manager of nurses during the Crimean War.  She is known as the "lady with the lamp," making the rounds of the wounded soldiers at night.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Nightingale

 

Matilde Coxe Stevenson (born May 12, 1849) was an American ethnologist who, along with her anthropologist husband, spent 13 years studying the Rocky Mountain region.  She and her husband James Stevenson "formed the first husband-wife team in anthropology."  She became the first President of the Women's Anthropological Society of America.  Later on, she studied the cave, cliff and mesa ruins in New Mexico, as well as all of its Pueblo tribes.  She made a special study of the Taos and Tewa Native Americans.  The artifacts she collected are housed at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian.  Stevenson also published numerous books on the Zuni Native Americans.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_Coxe_Stevenson