Sophia Brahe (1556-1643)
Tycho Brahe was one of the most important astronomers of the sixteenth century. The last major astronomer to work without the aid of a telescope, Tycho built his own instruments to track the movements of celestial bodies. His work paved the way for Johannes Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.
Tycho’s younger sister Sophia assisted him in his scientific observations. Their family was part of Denmark’s high nobility and although the Brahe children were well educated, their parents did not consider science an appropriate field for people of rank. Nevertheless, Sophia taught herself astronomy and as a teenager helped her brother observe a lunar eclipse. Throughout their lives, Tycho and Sophia maintained a close correspondence.
Sophia also studied alchemy, horticulture, and chemistry, but her most lasting individual work is her genealogy of Danish noble families. Published in 1626, it remains an important source for Danish historians today.