Joint meeting of the BAA Historical Section and the Society for the History of Astronomy
2015 July 20
This special joint meeting of the Historical Section and the Society for the History of Astronomy (SHA) was held on 2015 March 28 at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich – a place synonymous with astronomical history. An excellent turnout of BAA and SHA members came to the event and both organisations managed to recruit some new members during the day. The very full programme featured six talks by some outstanding speakers, two of them from the United States.
The day was introduced by Mike Frost, BAA Historical Section Director, and Kevin Kilburn, Acting Chair of the SHA.
The first speaker was former Historical Section Director Anthony Kinder. His talk, entitled ‘Empire of the BAA’, described the database he is compiling of all past BAA members. His database groups BAA members by county, using the county boundaries as they were before the 1974 reorganisation of local government. Anthony’s research shows that nearly every country in the world has had BAA members, though sometimes world political history has intervened in this regard: sadly in 1916, mid-way through the First World War, some German and Austrian members are recorded as having been expelled from the BAA.
The Association’s membership has included many interesting individuals. Some notable professional astronomers feature in the database, particularly in the early years of the Association, among them three Astronomers Royal: Frank Dyson, Harold Spencer Jones and Richard Woolley. Two other early members, Alice Everett and Harriett Furniss, were among the first female astronomers to work at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in the 1890s.(Continued…)