Friday, 24 November 2017

Awesome ladies - Wang Zhenyi

Wang Zhenyi was an astronomer, scientist, poet and scholar in 18th century China, under the Qing dynasty.

She was raised by her father and grandparents (the wikipedia article makes no mention of her mother) and, against the traditions of the time for women, worked to educate herself in maths, physics, astronomy and geography. She had a good academic grounding provided by both her grandparents, and her father, and was able to study a wide range of subjects.

Although Wang Zhenyi died young, at the age of 29, she made a significant contribution to the scientific community, particularly in astronomy.

Wang Zhenyi married at the age of 25, but had no children.

She also wrote poetry during her short lifetime, and mastered difficult mathematical theories. When she knew she was dying, she passed all of her papers on to a trusted friend.

She believed in equality between the sexes, which was reflected in her poetry:

It's made to believe,
Women are the same as Men;
Are you not convinced,
Daughters can also be heroic?”

A driven and passionate scholar with a wide range of academic interests and skills, some of Wang Zhenyi’s works survive, though some papers were believed to be lost after her death.

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