Emily Winterburn

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Emily Winterburn
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
Imperial College London
Notable worksThe Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel (2017)
The Stargazer's Guide
The Astronomers Royal

Emily Winterburn is a British science writer, physicist and historian of science based in Yorkshire. She is a visiting Fellow at the University of Leeds. Among other books, she wrote The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel, published by The History Press in 2017.

Early life and education[edit]

Winterburn studied physics at the University of Manchester. She remained there to complete a Masters in the History of Science, focussing on Ernest Rutherford and the Manchester physics department between 1907 and 1919.[1]


Winterburn joined the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, as a curator looking after astrophysical objects collected from 1250 to the present day.[1] Whilst at the Royal Observatory, Winterburn published The Astronomers Royal.[2] She appeared on Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time in 2007, discussing optics.[3] Alongside curating, Winterburn began a PhD at Imperial College London, studying the Herschel family.[1] In 2011 she submitted her PhD thesis, The Herschels: a scientific family in training.[4] Her thesis was well received by the historical science communities.[5]

In 2009 Winterburn joined the University of Leeds Museum of Science as a curator.[6][1] That year she published The Stargazer's Guide: How to Read Our Night Sky with HarperCollins.[7] Winterburn is an expert on the Herschel family and Islamic astronomical instruments.[1] She won the 2014 Notes & Records of the Royal Society essay prize for her essay Philomaths, Herschel, and the myth of the self-taught man.[8] She was part of the 2015 Royal Society celebration for International Women's Day, where she discussed girls' participation in scientific education and society.[9][10] She contributed to the Springer Publishing book The Scientific Legacy of William Herschel.[11] Winterburn has also written for popular periodicals, including Astronomy Now magazine.

Having published extensively on the Herschel family, Winterburn began to write The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel in 2012.[12][13] The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel focuses on the ten most productive years of Caroline Herschel's academic career, working with her brother William Herschel's telescope and finding comets.[14] The book was published in 2017 and has been described as a "terrific read".[15][16]


  • 2005 The Astronomers Royal[17]
  • 2009 The Stargazer's Guide: How to Read Our Night Sky
  • 2017 The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel: the Lost Heroine of Astronomy[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e Leeds, University of. "Profile - Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures - University of Leeds - Emily Winterburn". www.leeds.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  2. ^ "The Astronomers Royal by Emily Winterburn". www.waterstones.com. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  3. ^ "Optics, In Our Time - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  4. ^ Winterburn, Emily Jane (2011). The Herschels: a scientific family in training (PhD). doi:10.25560/95475.
  5. ^ "The Herschels: A Scientific Family | Dissertation Reviews". dissertationreviews.org. May 2012. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  6. ^ "Emily Winterburn", HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
  7. ^ "The Stargazer's Guide - Emily Winterburn - Paperback". HarperCollins Publishers: World-Leading Book Publisher. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  8. ^ "Essay award | Notes and Records". rsnr.royalsocietypublishing.org. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  9. ^ The Royal Society (2015-03-18), Emily Winterburn discusses Caroline Herschel's 1787 account of a new comet, retrieved 2018-07-01
  10. ^ "Female science writers celebrated". Times Higher Education (THE). 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  11. ^ Cunningham, Clifford J., ed. (2018). The Scientific Legacy of William Herschel. Historical & Cultural Astronomy. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-32826-3. ISBN 978-3-319-32825-6. ISSN 2509-310X.
  12. ^ "How shall we remember Caroline Herschel? - National Radio Astronomy Observatory". National Radio Astronomy Observatory. 2018-04-18. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  13. ^ "Dr Emily Winterburn". Salon London - Science, Arts, Psychology. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  14. ^ "The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel - Emily Winterburn ****". popsciencebooks.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  15. ^ "The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel by Emily Winterburn". Nudge. 2018-01-27. Archived from the original on 2018-07-02. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  16. ^ "Three compelling biographies of remarkable women". Christian Science Monitor. 2018-05-01. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  17. ^ Winterburn, Emily (2003). The Astronomers Royal. National Maritime Museum (Great Britain), Royal Greenwich Observatory. Greenwich, London: National Maritime Museum. ISBN 978-0948065477. OCLC 55990736.
  18. ^ Winterburn, Emily (2017). The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel : the Lost Heroine of Astronomy. Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 9780750986519. OCLC 1007922826.