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Interesting things about Joan of Arc you didn’t know

Today we remember Joan of Arc mostly from novels and really bad movies starring John Malkovich (as Charles VII, not as Joan). Joan of Arc doesn’t get much airtime in non-French textbooks, so most of what Americans know about her boils down to this: She was a rare female military leader, she talked to God, she was burned at the stake, and she looked good in shiny armor.

There really is no doubt, though, that Joan of Arc was a remarkable woman. Mark Twain called her “easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” She accomplished things no other woman had ever accomplished, and you could even say she made great things possible for all the women leaders who followed her. Still, much of what we know about Joan of Arc is embellished, totally made up, or hardly talked about, so here are some of the more obscure details from the great heroine’s short life.

Joan of Arc wasn’t from ‘Arc’ and her name wasn’t Joan

We call her “Joan of Arc” today, but that’s not what she called herself. For a start, she was French, and “Joan” isn’t a French name. Her given name was actually “Jehanne,” and she called herself “Jehanne la Pucelle” or “Joan the maid.”

So the English translation of “Jehanne” is “Joan,” which is why we English speakers don’t refer to her as “Jehanne.” So that makes sense, but what about “Arc”? Did Joan/Jehanne come from a town called Arc? Nope. According to the St. Joan Center, her father used that name — he was (possibly) from a place called Arc-en-Barrois, hence the surname d’Arc. And since modern people have a really hard time fathoming daughters who don’t inherit their fathers’ last names, we use “Arc” as Joan’s last name, too.

But “Joan of Arc” never used her father’s surname. She wasn’t born in Arc-en-Barrois but in a village called Domremy, which is where her father married her mother, Isabelle Romee. In France at that time it was the custom for girls to take their mothers’ names, so Jehanne/Joan really would have done that if it weren’t for the whole wearing armor and getting burned at the stake thing.

She may have suffered from epilepsy or schizophrenia

These days, when someone says “I’m hearing voices,” the usual response is “Um … oh-kay.” In Joan’s day, hearing voices meant you were either talking to God or to the devil, and either way it wasn’t really great news for you. If you talked to the devil you were a witch, which meant you’d get burned at the stake. If you talked to God you were a Very Important Person, which meant that eventually someone would decide you were actually talking to the devil, which meant you’d get burned at the stake.

Joan grew up devout, so when she started to hear voices she truly believed she was talking to God, who’d chosen her for a great and noble purpose. But God may not have been behind those voices — according to LiveScience, at least two modern neurologists have posthumously diagnosed Joan with “idiopathic partial epilepsy with auditory features,” a genetic form of epilepsy that affects only one part of the brain and can cause auditory hallucinations. Other historians have speculated that Joan suffered from schizophrenia.

Of course, those theories can never really be proven, unless historians are successful in locating the letters that Joan supposedly sealed with wax and “the imprint of a finger and a hair.” If Joan’s hair could be found, her DNA could maybe prove or disprove the epilepsy theory. But we probably don’t have to tell you how unlikely that is.

Her family wasn’t poor

Joan of Arc is often portrayed as a peasant girl who became a great military leader and champion for France, but those stories don’t really tell the whole truth. According to author Ronald Gower, there’s evidence that Joan’s family was not actually poor. After her death, neighbors testified that Joan’s father was a “doyden” or senior inhabitant of the village, which means he was next to the mayor in importance. The family were landholders — they had 20 acres, including farmland, meadow, and forest. They also had money stashed away for emergencies, which is a lot more than many modern families can claim to have.

In fact Joan’s family doesn’t appear to have been suffering at all — their annual income was said to be the equivalent of roughly 200 pounds, which was kind of a lot of money in those days — enough to live comfortably, raise kids, and give a little bit to the actual poor.

So what gives with the “poor peasant” stuff? It might have something to do with the whole underdog thing — it’s much nicer to imagine a poor girl becoming the heroine of France than it is to imagine a well-off girl doing the same thing. It’s definitely better for public morale, too, especially when the average family in those days tended to be more poor than not.

She was probably more like a figurehead than a soldier

We love to imagine Joan of Arc riding into battle at the head of her army, taking down English soldiers with one arm and praising God with the other. That’s probably not exactly how it happened, though, depending on who you ask.

Some of the people who knew Joan of Arc claimed she did all that — charged the British with a lance, fought alongside her men — but not everyone thinks those accounts are accurate. Historian Desmond Seward, who wrote The Hundred Years War: The English in France, said “Joan of Arc merely checked the English advance by reviving Dauphinist morale,” and French historian Edouard Perroy basically said she was just a figurehead: “She was content to exhort the combatants, say what advice her voices gave, step into the breach at critical moments and rally the infantry.”

On the other hand, it does seem hard to discount all the testimony from soldiers who knew her, though those stories probably were somewhat embellished. Let’s face it, if you’re going to brag about your close personal relationship with the hero of France, you’re probably going to tell people she was way more awesome than she actually was. However, one should never underestimate girl power.

She was basically a kid

Joan of Arc was a heroine, a leader, an inspirational figure — but sometimes we forget that she was still a child. According to National Geographic, at the age of 16, she made the journey to Chinon to tell Charles of Valois, the son of the deceased King Charles VI, that God wanted her to help liberate France from its enemies. Unsurprisingly, people needed some convincing — Joan was sent away before meeting Charles, but she returned the following year, still hopeful she could reach Charles and make him listen. He did listen, and then he gave her a suit of armor, a sword, and a horse and sent her off to the front lines.

It shouldn’t really surprise anyone that 17-year-old Joan was troubled by what she saw on the battlefield. During the battle to lift the siege of Orleans, she wept for fallen soldiers on both sides. In one story, she cried as she cradled the head of a dying enemy soldier. And although she held up remarkably well during her trial, she wept and prayed for mercy at the end of her life just like any other child would do. It didn’t seem to matter to her judges, though — they were determined to condemn her regardless of her youth and irrespective of her devotion to the same god they claimed to serve.

She was a cross-dresser, but not for the reasons you think

One of Joan’s most famous quirks had to do with her manner of dress. Today, with a few idiotic holdouts, most people recognize the lame-osity of caring whether a woman chooses to wear a dress, a pair of jeans, or a suit of armor — but during Joan’s time it was super, super important. In fact it was so important that it was actually illegal for a woman to dress like a man.

Joan didn’t dress the way she did to be more comfortable in battle or because she wanted to be a man (both perfectly valid reasons). Instead, it’s likely that Joan wore men’s clothing because she was afraid she’d be raped if she didn’t. According to the Joan of Arc Archive, while being held by the English she fastened her hose to her tunic with 20 cords, and her boots went all the way up to her waist and were also attached to her tunic, presumably because all that stuff would take forever for an assailant to remove. The fact that she had to do this at all was pretty repulsive since female prisoners were generally placed in the custody of nuns, but the English made an exception for her and left in the hands of soldiers instead. That was fine for them, since they could then point to her cross-dressing as evidence of heresy.

Ultimately, she was executed for wearing men’s clothing

When she was captured in 1430, the English charged Joan of Arc with a bunch of seriously lame crimes that we would never dream of charging anyone with today, including witchcraft, heresy, and cross-dressing. The 70 charges were eventually reduced down to 12, though they still included cross-dressing, perhaps because that was easier to prove.

Anyway, then came a long trial that would have been humiliating, except for the part where Joan was so well-spoken and clever that her inquisitors decided to make her public trial a private one because she was making them all look stupid. After that, Joan was forced to sign a document denying that her visions were real and agreeing not to wear men’s clothing anymore. Because remember, that last bit was super important.

According to Mental Floss, once her life imprisonment sentence was handed down, she went back to wearing men’s clothing again. She told interrogators that she did so to protect herself from the guards, aka exactly what she’d been saying all along. She also told interrogators she wasn’t being totally honest when she said she didn’t really hear voices, and though that certainly contributed to her ultimate fate, it seems the cross-dressing was what set everyone off again. So then the bishop in charge decided she was a relapsed heretic, and she was sentenced to death.

She probably died from heat stroke

If you’re ever unlucky enough to be sentenced to death at the stake, you may hope to die of smoke inhalation or heat exhaustion, both much less painful than burning to death. If published accounts of Joan of Arc’s death are to be believed, she was spared the final agony of death by fire. According to the St. Joan Center, she probably died from heat exhaustion.

As it turns out, even medieval people weren’t necessarily so bloodthirsty and cruel that they always enjoyed watching the agonizing last moments of someone who was condemned to die in the most horrible way possible. Executioners were sometimes given broad authority to ease the pain of the convicted, either by slitting the unfortunate person’s throat, strangling them, or piling a lot of green wood around their feet so they’d die from the smoke. There isn’t any evidence that the first two things happened, but Joan almost certainly didn’t die from the flames — there wasn’t a single witness who said she screamed in agony, which is impossible to avoid when your skin is burning. Instead, she cried out “Jesus! Jesus!” and then she bowed her head and didn’t make another sound. That’s not exactly consistent with painful agony, so that’s some consolation for her untimely death, but not much.

Let’s burn her, and then burn her ashes, and then burn her again

Because one burning was clearly not enough, Joan of Arc was burned a second time — and then a third time. Why? Well, according to The Guardian it was especially important to the Cardinal of Winchester, who ordered the second burning, maybe because you wouldn’t want anyone climbing up on the pyre and collecting souvenirs or anything.

But that wasn’t enough, so she was burned a third time — although the legends about the third burning are somewhat in disagreement. Some accounts say the soldiers who were tasked with cleaning up the post-execution mess found her intact heart, still full of blood, untouched among the ashes. They desperately tried to get rid of it by dumping sulfur, oil, and charcoal on it in the hope they could get it to burn, but it stubbornly refused to become anything but a really morbid and gross symbol of its former owner’s innocence. The soldiers cried out that they’d burned a saint and were doomed, and that’s when they dumped her heart and her ashes into the Seine River. And so endeth the tale of Joan the Maid, except of course that’s not where it ended.

Joan of Arc didn’t really die, see? Now give us gifts.

Siblings are super-annoying because that’s a prerequisite for sharing someone’s genetics. According to the St. Joan Center, Joan had brothers, and after her death they sat around musing about how they might be able to keep a good thing going despite the tragic death of that good thing’s central figure. In 1434, three years after their sister’s death, a woman came forward claiming to be Joan of Arc (her real name was Claude), which was of course patently ridiculous since Joan had died in front of a huge crowd and had never once said the words, “You’ve got the wrong girl!” But her brothers Pierre and Jean d’Arc accepted it, and Joan of Arc lived again.

Now you might imagine they had political reasons, but no. No, Pierre and Jean were in it for the money. For six years, they traveled France and presented the imposter as the real Joan of Arc, and then happily accepted all the gifts that were lavished upon the fake heroine by an admiring population. Their ruse went all the way to the king, Charles VII, which was stupid since he’d actually known the real Joan of Arc. When Claude couldn’t repeat a “secret” the real Joan had once shared with Charles, she was forced to confess.

Joan of Arc gets cleared of wrongdoing — 20 years too late

 

 

 

 

 

18 Famous Women Who Explored Space-Their stories told.

On May 26, 1951, a girl born in Encino, California would grow up to become the first American woman in space. Though Sally Ride later inspired a whole generation of women to follow in her footsteps, she actually came from a long history of female astronomers and explorers.

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From the women who looked skyward centuries ago, to those who continue the legacy, here are 18 pioneers who left their mark on the world and in the stars.

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Hypatia

Alexandria, Egypt
Born c. 350-70; died 415 AD

Hypatia was a mathematician, astronomer, and Neo-platonic philosopher. Her father, the philosopher Theon, was a math professor and taught Hypatia everything he could about the sciences and philosophy, which eventually led to her securing a job at the Library of Alexandria. She also taught and wrote books on math, philosophy, and astronomy.

Hypatia designed an astrolabe and used it to chart the position of stars in the sky. She remains one of the earliest known female astronomers.

Sadly, Hypatia met her end when a Christian mob—who claimed she was a witch—murdered her. Some reports suggest she was killed on the orders of Cyril, a staunch Christian and the patriarch of Alexandria.

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2 of 18 Aglaonice

Thessaly, Greece
Birthdate unknown

Aglaonice was considered the first female astronomer in ancient Greece who focused her studies on the moon’s cyclical patterns.

Her lunar eclipse predictions were so accurate that many claimed she was a sorceress who had the power to hide the moon and make it reappear at her whim.

Due to her ‘magical’ reputation, Aglaonice became known as the leader of group of female astronomers called the “Witches of Thessaly.” There is a crater on Venus named after her that measures 38.9 miles in diameter.

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Cheomseongdae

Image Brendan O’RourkeGetty Images
Queen Seondeok of Silla

Silla (South Korea)
Born c. 595-610; died 647

Queen Seondeok (also stylized as Sondok) ruled Silla, one of the three Korean Kingdoms at the time, from 632 to 647—the first female ever do so in Korea.

Seondeok was instrumental in the construction of the 30-foot tall Cheomseongdae (“star-gazing tower”) Observatory, in 634. The Observatory is Asia’s oldest, longest-standing structure of its kind and was designated as one of South Korea’s National Treasures.

Seondeok, who never married or had children to inherit her throne, died of an unknown illness and her cousin, Jindeok, became her successor. Queen Jindeok was the second female ruler in Silla.

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image

Gavnø
Sophia Brahe

Sweden
Born 1556; died 1643

Although Brahe was born in Sweden, she was raised as a Danish noble because her father served as advisor to the king of Denmark.

Brahe helped her brother, Tycho, with his observations of the stars and helped him create what would serve as the foundation for today’s predictions for planetary orbit.

Because Sophia Tycho were nobles, their family expressed disdain at their interest in the sciences. Tycho encouraged his sister to continue learning, but to avoid astronomy to appease their family. She refused.

Brahe spent her own money to translate German and Latin texts so she could continue her studies in astronomy. She also studied horticulture and had an interest in medicine and chemistry.

Tycho and Sophia jointly discovered a supernova in the Cassiopeia constellation, which was named “Nova Stella.”

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Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG  Getty Images
Wang Zhenyi

China
Born 1768; died 1797

Zhenyi was a Chinese astronomer, mathematician, and author of texts on the cosmos including Dispute of the Processions of the Equinoxes, Dispute of Longitude and Stars, and The Explanation of a Lunar Eclipse.

She lived during the Qing Dynasty and was self-educated, studying medicine, math, and geography in addition to astronomy.

Zhenyi was especially well-versed in both solar and lunar eclipses and the direction in which the planets revolved. One of her experiments consisted of creating a model of the Earth, Sun, and Moon (which she made using everyday items like a table and mirror) and acted as a visual aid to show people how eclipses worked.

Zhenyi’s research and writings, which included an easier-to-understand rewrite of the previously printed Principles of Calculation by a mathematician she admired, made her an acclaimed scholar.

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Bettmann Getty Images
Maria Mitchell

U.S.
Born 1818; died 1889

Mitchell was the first American female astronomer. She discovered a comet in 1847, which made her an overnight celebrity and led to her eventual election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was the only woman to hold a position at the academy until 1943.

In 1865, Mitchell became a professor of astronomy at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie where she was named the director of Vassar’s Observatory.

When she discovered that her male colleagues were making more money than her, she asked for equal pay—and got it. In 1888, Mitchell decided to retire and died just a year later. To honor her groundbreaking strides, an asteroid, the 1455 Mitchella, and a crater on the Moon (Mitchell) were named after her.

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Boston Globe Getty Images
The Harvard Computers

The Harvard Computers were a group of women who analyzed images of the stars in the sky in order to categorize and better understand space.

One of the first women to become a “computer” was Williamina Fleming, the maid of Harvard Observatory’s director, Edward Charles Pickering.

Fleming is credited with discovering the Horsehead Nebula and creating a classification system for stars based on their temperature. Fleming’s efforts were instrumental in the 1890 publication of the Draper Catalogue of Stellar Spectra, which detailed the brightness, star type, and position of 10,000+ stars.

Another ‘computer’ was Annie Jump Cannon, a suffragist and successor to Edward Pickering. Cannon’s accomplishments include admittance to the Royal Astronomical Society in 1914, and an honorary doctorate from Groningen University in the Netherlands in 1921.

Fleming, Cannon, and company worked six days a week for a meager salary of 25 to 50 cents and hour—much less than their male counterparts.

Other prominent Harvard Computers include Antonia Maury, Anna Winlock, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Florence Cushman, Mary Anna Palmer Draper.

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Alex Wong Getty Images
Katherine Johnson

U.S.
Born 1918

Johnson’s calculations were instrumental in paving the path for the first and subsequent missions to send humans into space.

Johnson was a human computer who helped NASA develop computer programs to work on the calculations that she was completing manually, like wind gust alleviation.

When NASA was finally confident in the ability of its computers to complete calculations, John Glenn’s orbit was one of the first missions left to digital. Glenn refused to fly unless Johnson confirmed the computer’s calculations.

In 1986, Johnson retired from NASA, and in 2015, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award offered in the U.S. Taraji P. Henson played Johnson in 2016’s Hidden Figures.

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Heritage Images Getty Images
Valentina Tereshkova

Russia
Born 1937

In 1963, Tereshkova became the very first woman in space. She boarded the Vostok 6, a Soviet spacecraft, and spent nearly three whole days in space. The barrier-breaking trip saw her orbit Earth 48 times before coming back home.

Tereshkova had no experience as a pilot before she was chosen to join the Soviet space program. However, her extensive experience parachute jumping (126 jumps to be exact) gave her an edge over the competition, because astronauts at the time had to parachute from their ships right before landing upon their return to Earth.

For nearly 40 years, the secret of Tereshkova’s near-crash remained classified. When her craft re-entered the Earth’s orbit, an error in the navigation software began moving her ship away from Earth. Tereshkova alerted the ground team, who fixed the algorithm, and the craft was able to safely land near today’s border between Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China.

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NASA
Valerie Thomas

U.S.
Born 1943

Thomas invented and patented the 3D Illusion Transmitter, which makes 3D TVs, MRIs, and other imaging possible. NASA still uses it today.

In the 1970s, Thomas managed the historic Landsat satellite program, which was the first satellite to send photos of space back to Earth.

She also assisted in developing program designs that helped further the research on Halley’s Comet. Plus, her computer program designs helped develop research on the ozone layer and satellite tech.

Thomas was the recipient of multiple awards including NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Award of Merit and the NASA Equal Opportunity Medal. In 1995, she retired from NASA.

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Nur Photo Getty Images
Margaret Hamilton

U.S.
Born 1936

Hamilton was 24 when she started working at MIT as a programmer. She would eventually join the Charles Stark Draper Lab on campus and work on the Apollo space mission. Hamilton and her team were tasked with developing in-flight software—the same software that would eventually help put a man on the moon. Hamilton is credited for coining the term “software engineering.”

Hamilton was a dedicated scientist and mother—she would often bring her daughter to work with her. While her daughter napped, Hamilton plugged away. In reference to her own work and the work of her team, Hamilton said, “there was no choice but to be pioneers,” and that’s exactly what she was.

In 2016, former Obama presented Hamilton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her tireless work.

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Bettmann Getty Images
Sally Ride

U.S.
Born 1951; died 2012

In the summer of 1983, Ride became the first American woman to go into space aboard the Challenger space shuttle, and the third woman to go into space overall (the other two were from the USSR).

Ride, a Stanford graduate, participated in two separate space voyages, having launched in the Challenger again in the fall of 1984. This second mission kept Ride in space for nine days, during which she used the robotic arm attached to the shuttle to remove chunks of ice that were stuck to the ship.

Ride was set to head out on a third mission that was cancelled due to the tragic Challenger explosion in 1986. Sadly, in 2012, she died of pancreatic cancer.

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Science & Society Picture Library Getty Images
Mae Carol Jemison

U.S.
Born 1956

Jemison was the first African American woman in space. She was part of the crew that rode on the Endeavour shuttle during its second mission.

Jemison, inspired by Ride’s jaunt into space, applied to NASA’s astronaut program and was selected as one of 15 candidates out of a pool of 2,000+ people. Mae’s yearlong training paid off when, in 1992, she was orbited the Earth 126 times aboard the Endeavour.

In 1993, Jemison left NASA and began teaching at Dartmouth. She also founded the Jemison Group—a company that encourages students to study the sciences—as well as an international science camp called The Earth We Share (TEWS) for teens.

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Encyclopaedia Britannica Getty Images
Sharon Christa McAuliffe

U.S.
Born 1948; died 1986

McAuliffe beat out 11,000+ applicants in a NASA competition to become the first teacher sent to space. The announcement was made by then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.

In early 1986, McAuliffe’s family and friends were at the Kennedy Space Center eagerly awaiting the launch of the Challenger, which was supposed to carry McAuliffe and six others up into space. McAuliffe’s students in Concord, NH., were also watching the launch when tragedy struck.

The Challenger exploded less than two minutes after lift off, killing everyone onboard. McAuliffe received a posthumous Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in New Hampshire and Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Utah were named in her honor.

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Bill Ingalls/NASA Getty Images
Peggy Whitson

U.S.
Born 1960

In 2008, Whitson (second from the bottom in the photo) became the first woman to command the International Space Station (ISS). Her career with NASA saw her spend 665 days in space, the most time for any NASA astronaut.

She also holds the record for most spacewalks by a woman with 10 departures from the ISS totaling 60 hours and 21 minutes, and recently became the oldest woman astronaut to reach orbit in 2016 at the age of 56.

Not all of her records were attained in space, though. Whitson was also the first woman to serve as the chief of NASA’s Astronaut Corps, a title she held from 2009 to 2012. She retired from NASA in the summer of 2018.

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Handout Getty Images
Katie Bouman

U.S.
Born 1989

Last month, the Event Horizon Telescope captured the first-ever image of a black hole—a scientific revolution that was made possible by a dedicated team of researchers, engineers, scientists, and so many more.

One member of the team who made the photo possible was Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard who assisted in creating the code that helped capture the image.

Bouman, whose background is in computer science and electrical engineering, was interested in “coming up with ways to see or measure things that are invisible.” Mission accomplished.

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Phillip Faraone Getty Images
Jill Tarter

U.S.
Born 1944

As an astronomer and co-founder of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, Tarter is one of the foremost researchers seeking to find life on other planets.

Tarter attended Cornell as an undergraduate in the school’s engineering program—the only woman in a class of 300 students. When she attended grad school at UC Berkeley, the head of the astronomy department said that Tarter and the other two female students were lucky that there was room for them in the program since so many men were drafted for Vietnam.

Tarter has dedicated her life to exploring the mysteries of the cosmos. Her thirst for knowledge and tireless work have earned her numerous awards including the Adler Planetarium Women in Space Science Award (2003), two public service medals from NASA, a spot on Time‘s 2004 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

In 2005, Asteroid 74824 Tarter was named after her.

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Interim Archives Getty Images
Ellen Ochoa

U.S.
Born 1958

Ochoa (left) attended San Diego State and received a Bachelor’s in physics before moving on to obtain a Master’s and Ph.D in electrical engineering from Stanford.

In 1988, she began working at NASA and moved up to serve as the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center. She was the Center’s first Hispanic director in addition to being its second female leader ever.

Ochoa was also the first Hispanic woman to go into space when she was selected to become an astronaut and had her first mission aboard the Discovery shuttle in 1993–a mission that lasted nine days.

She’s been to space four times and has logged almost 1,000 orbit hours, to boot.

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Henry Sapiecha

Feminism is not a dirty word-Equality is the preferred norm for humanity

trish about feminissim image www.goodgirlsgo.com

IT’S FASCINATING to watch people’s reactions to the word feminism. Even with reading the opening sentence of this column, I bet I’ve already had a couple of eye rolls. Which is almost the entire reason for it to be such an interesting, and often frustrating subject.

This week I’ve read a few articles discussing the topic of feminism, and it’s people’s response to it that always has me intrigued.

What exactly is feminism? I’ve studied the subject as part of criminology, but I still can’t determine what is the difference between a feminist and an individual who just believes in us being equal?

I am a woman, so of course I’m going to be an advocate of women’s rights.

I’ve also worked in two very different environments, from policing to writing romance novels. They couldn’t be on further ends of the spectrum when it comes to a gender predominant industry. So I feel like I’m qualified enough to say that from my experience, I’ve seen that women can do things just as well as men can, and vice versa. I’ve worked under some high-ranking female commanders, and know some incredible male romance writers, both have achieved huge success in their field. We are actually all able to achieve the same things in life, regardless of our chromosome make-up. So does this make me a feminist or is it just that I have a basic understanding of equality?

Even the brilliant director George Miller, when asked about having strong female heroines in his latest Mad Max movie, danced around the topic of feminism without completely admitting to being pro-women. Despite it being an extremely clever concept, he brushed off the premise by saying that it wasn’t really intended to be a feminist movie, and it just kind of happened that way. Why is it so difficult to just say “why not?”

American singer Taylor Swift has also made some bold statements about feminism in a Maxim magazine article, after being named as the top talent in women for 2015. Her comments seem years ahead of her tender age, but are so poignant to the subject.

It’s all too easy to look away and accept things for what they are, but there’s no room for progress if society continues to ignore facts about double standards.

As my husband always points out to me, his beloved sci-fi novels always have the female commanders of the future referred to as “sir”, just the same as the men are. Let’s hope this is a prediction of future society.

TJ HAMILTON

FRASER COAST CHRONICLE QLD AUSTRALIA

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Henry Sapiecha