Caroline Herschel (1750-1848)

Caroline Herschel: technician to the stars

Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) was an assistant to her brother William Herschel and a successful comet hunter in her own right. She was the first salaried female in the history of astronomy.

Cover of the technicians blue book. Thank you to Mel Leitch from the University of Newcastle for sending me this copy.

The technicians’ Blue Book

In 1990 the Blue Book was introduced in an attempt to give university technicians a promotions structure. Here is a short history – I would love to hear from anyone with more information.

Lord Bhattacharyya presents Vicky Wilson with her Lifetime Achievement Award

Vicky Wilson

Vicky Wilson rescued DNA fingerprinting from the laboratory dustbin of history. Hers was the first DNA in the world to be fingerprinted when she worked for Professor Sir Alex Jeffreys at the University of Leicester.

Bunsen’s original design.

Peter Desaga

Peter Desaga (1812 – 1879) was an instrument maker from Heidelberg who designed and built the first Bunsen burner.

Michael Faraday in his late thirties

Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday (1791-1867) apprenticed to a book binder aged 14 he went on to become an assistant to Humphry Davy and eventually one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time.

Flamsteed House Greenwich (National Maritime Museum)

Margaret Flamsteed

Margaret Flamsteed (c. 1670-1730) was wife and assistant to John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal. Without her his greatest achievements would never have been published.

Old Ashmolean 1685

Christopher White

Christopher White (c.1650-1695?) was the first professional laboratory technician. Working in Oxford he was apothecary, alchemist, experimenter, teacher, and demonstrator.

Freda Collier

Freda Collier

Freda Collier (1916-2013) worked with Rosalind Franklin as her x-ray photographer and most likely took the famous “photo 51”, an image that inspired the solution to the structure of DNA.