About half of the women profiled in the presentation are modern-day astronomers and probably don't have to worry about angry mobs. Women like Sandra Faber can safely focus on studying dark matter. Carolyn Shoemaker has codiscovered more than thirty comets, and Sally Ride was America's first woman in space.
Even Julia, a docent who orchestrates the show by playing Oz behind the curtain, told me she's working on a Ph.D. in astronomy. On any other day I would have thought only that I'd met an incredibly smart woman not an uncommon occurrence in our town. But because I met Julia after seeing the show, I left the museum feeling lucky to have encountered not only a dedicated scholar but also a woman who is reshaping history.
Women in Astronomy continues its two-month run at the Exhibit Museum Planetarium every Saturday and Sunday through March 10.
[Originally published in March, 2002.]