This episode will tell the stories of Caroline Herschel and Mary Somerville. It features an interview with Olivia Waite, who combines the two historic women in the protagonist of her regency, sapphic, romance novel The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics. Caroline Herschel was the first woman to discover a comet and artfully navigated the scientific world of the 18th and early 19th century to become one of the first paid women astronomers. Mary Somerville was potentially the most successful scientific writer of all time. Self-taught and charming, she grasped complex concepts in all physical sciences and communicated them to the world in her many books.
But learning about the lives of these scientific women does not provide understanding of what their lives felt like. Often, women who contributed to science are left out of history or parts of their identity have been erased. To rectify this gap in the traditional historical narrative, historical fiction and romance writers depict vivid and realistic stories of the lives that rarely make history books. In her interview, Olivia Waite shares how she researches and writes historical romance and the importance of this genre to showcase LGBTQ+ identities.