Brahe, Sophia (1556–1643)

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Brahe, Sophia (1556–1643)

Danish student of astronomy and chemistry. Born in Denmark in 1556; died in 1643; one of ten children of Otto and Beate (Bille) Brahe; sister of astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546–1601); married Otto Thott (died 1588); married Erik Lange; children: (first marriage) one.

Highly educated in classical literature, astrology, and alchemy, Sophia Brahe made her contribution to science as an assistant to her brother, astronomer Tycho Brahe. Sophia assisted with the observations that led to his computation of the lunar eclipse of December 8, 1573, and often visited his well equipped observatory on the island of Hveen.

Brahe was 19 or 20 when she married her first husband and had a child. Following her husband's death in 1588, she managed their property at Ericksholm and became an excellent horticulturist, as well as a student of chemistry and medicine. She subsequently remarried.

As testament to her contribution, Brahe is mentioned in Gassendi's De Tychonis Brahei Vita as having great talent and enthusiasm for science: "She has been exposed to the study of mathematics, and as a result not only did she love astronomy but she was especially ready to engage in these exciting astrological studies."