• Adrian Thomas
  • Francis Duck
Part of the Springer Biographies book series (SPRINGERBIOGS)


Edith became an assistant mathematics teacher at the 600-pupil Cheltenham Ladies’ College in 1895, under the headship of Dorothea Beale, who inspired her to see education as a vocation. In her most senior class, she prepared pupils for Cambridge entrance, and, in her last year at Cheltenham, two of her students gained scholarships at Newnham College. In the year she started, Röntgen discovered X-rays, and, before she left in 1898, X-ray equipment had been introduced into the local hospital. She stayed long enough to see an astronomical observatory erected on the top of the new College tower. At the end of her last year, her father gave an end-of-year address in the newly built grand hall, speaking on natural scales, ranging from the smallest molecular scales to the largest astronomical scales. Edith then moved to London to live with Florence and her father again. Her brother Gerald had become chief engineer for Charles Parsons in Newcastle. Edith predicted the mathematical function for the parabolic/ellipsoidal shape of the searchlight mirrors that he was making, allowing him to manufacture them more accurately. In 1899, she was appointed as the Physics Lecturer at the London School of Medicine for Women.


Cheltenham Ladies’ College Dorothea Beale Physical scales Astronomy X-rays Women teachers Mary Kingsley Searchlight design Physics in medicine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian Thomas
    • 1
  • Francis Duck
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, School of Allied and Public Health ProfessionsCanterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK
  2. 2.Formerly University of BathBathUK

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