Hello {!firstname},

One of the most  brilliant and inspiring female individuals of Canadian astronomy was 
Isabel Williamson, of Montreal, Quebec.

     She was a member of the  RASC in Montreal, Quebec for many years.

Here is an email I received from long time amateur astronomer and member of the RASC 
Geoff Gaherty:

 Hi Ray,

I joined the RASC Montreal centre when I was 16 years old. I didn't realize it then, but it was unusual for having a large number of active women members. Isabel Williamson was the most famous, having won the Chant Medal for her work on meteor showers, but there were a dozen active women members. 

Probably Isabel had broken the ground for them, and welcomed and encouraged them, but the made up about a quarter of the active membership.

Remember, this was way back in the '50s, when women were expected to be homemakers and not much else. Isabel herself was unmarried, but held down a very serious job at Sun Life's actuary department. She was one of the original "Hollerith girls," responsible for the care and feeding of the very first digital computers. 

The other women were both married and unmarried, and many were responsible for coordinating observing sections.

Isabel was very good at delegating responsibility, so built a fantastic team. She was also great at encouraging teenagers, another group sadly lacking in today's astronomy clubs. 

These included myself, astrophotographer Klaus Brasch, and a young fellow named David Levy. Most wonderful of all, she mostly managed to control our old friend Dave Zackon!

Geoff Gaherty
Foxmead Observatory
Coldwater ON Canada

      So there is a fine example of  female leadership, at a time when it certainly was not encouraged at all.

And  it's wonderful to see that several men were quite influenced by her., notably David Levy, and Klaus Brasch.

Come to think of it, I  seem to recall David Levy having a bit of a run in with Miss Williamson at one time, but that's
a story for another time.

Clear Skies,

Ray Khan

PS Here is one of my favourite astronomy binoculars for stargazing.  And ideal for travelling purposes, especially
       if you plan to head to warmer climes in the winter, and want to take them with you on an airplane
       http://khanscope.com/productdetails.cfm?productID=4263.   Mention you saw it in the newsletter for FREE 



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