Sophia Brahe. (1556-1643) was a Danish horticulturalist and student of astronomy, chemistry, and medicine, best known for assisting her brother, the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe, with his astronomical observations.
Sophia was born into a Danish noble family, her father being an advisor to the King of Denmark. She started assisting her brother with his astronomical observations in 1573, and helped him with the work that became the basis for modern planetary orbit predictions. Tycho had trained her in horticulture and chemistry but she learned astronomy on her own. Brother and sister were united not only by science, but by the fact that their family did not approve of science as being an appropriate activity for noble people.
During her first marriage, she became a horticulturist, creating beautiful gardens, and also studied chemistry and medicine, particularly focused on Paracelsian medicine. After her first husband died, she met a noblemen who studied alchemy and were later married. Due to using his money for alchemy experiments and Sophia’s family depriving her of money because of her interest in science, the two lived mostly in poverty. Sophia also wrote a genealogy of noble Danish families, which is still considered an important historic source.
Tycho Brahe is one of my favorite historical geeks. I had no idea he had a badass sister.
Neither did we!