Thursday, February 4, 2016

Women of Space


At first this post was just going to feature the names of women who've been in space, but since part of my inspiration was the amazing Katherine Johnson, that just didn't seem right (the other inspiration was explaining to my 8-year-old why Valentina Kerman is named Valentina).
And so, here's a list of women from space-exploration history. :)
(with a surprisingly few number of repeating names!)

Female astronauts who've been in space:
  • Anna (Lee Fisher)
  • Anousheh (Ansari*--first Iranian-American)
  • Barbara (Morgan)
  • Bonnie (J. Dunbar)
  • Catherine (Coleman)
  • Chiaki (Mukai*--first Japanese woman)
  • Claudie (Haigneré*--first French woman)
  • Dorothy (Metcalf-Lindburger)
  • Eileen (Collins*--first female Shuttle pilot and commander)
  • Ellen (S. Baker, Ochoa*--first Hispanic woman)
  • Heidemarie (Stefanyshyn-Piper)
  • Helen (Sharman*--first Briton)
  • Jan (Nancy Jan Davis)
  • Janet (L. Kavandi)
  • Janice (E. Voss)
  • Joan (Higginbotham)
  • Judith (Resnik*--first Jewish-American woman)
  • Julie (Payette)
  • Kalpana (Chawla*--first Indian-American)
  • Karen (L. Nyburg)
  • Kathryn (P. Hire, D. Sullivan, C. Thornton)
  • Laurel (B. Clark)
  • Linda (M. Godwin)
  • Lisa (Nowak)
  • Liu (Yang*--first Chinese woman)
  • Mae (Jemison*--first African-American woman)
  • Margaret (Rhea Seddon)
  • Marsha (Ivins)
  • Mary (L. Cleave, E. Weber)
  • "Megan" (Katherine Megan McArthur)
  • Millie (Hughes-Fulford)
  • Nancy (J. Curry)
  • Naoko (Yamazaki)
  • Nicole (P. Stott)
  • Pamela (Melroy)
  • Peggy (Whitson)
  • Roberta (Bondar--first Canadian woman)
  • Sally (Ride*--first American woman)
  • Samantha (Cristoforetti*--first Italian woman)
  • Sandra (Magnus)
  • Shannon (Lucid, Walker)
  • Stephanie (Wilson)
  • Sunita (Williams)
  • Susan (J. Helms, Kilrain)
  • Svetlana (Savitskaya*--first woman to spacewalk, as well as make multiple space trips)
  • Tamara (E. Jurnigan)
  • Tracy (Caldwell Dyson)
  • Valentina (Tereshkova*--first woman in space)
  • Wang (Yaping)
  • Wendy (B. Lawrence)
  • Yelena (Kondakova, Serova)
  • Yi (So-yeon*--first Korean)

Other notable women:

The 'Mercury 13'--a group of female pilots who independently took the first phases of astronaut testing, hoping to prove that women could go to space--
  • Bernice (Steadman) 
  • Gene Nora (Stumbough)
  • Irene (Leverton)
  • Jane (Hart)
  • Janet (Dietrich)
  • Jean (Hixson)
  • "Jerri" (Geraldine Sloan)
  • "Jerrie" (Geraldyn Cobb)
  • Marion (Dietrich)
  • Myrtle (Cagle)
  • Rhea (Hurrle)
  • Sarah (Gorelick)
  • "Wally" (Mary Wallace Funk)

The original Soviet female candidates (minus the previously mentioned Valentina Tereshkova)--
  • Irina (Solovyova)
  • Tatyana (Kuznetsova)
  • Valentina (Ponomaryova)
  • Zhanna (Yorkina)

In NASA--
  • Irene (D. Long--first female chief medical officer at Kennedy S.C.)
  • Jocelyn (Gill--NASA in-flight science chief, 1961-73)
  • Katherine (Johnson--probably the most well-known of NASA's "human computers")
  • Susan (G. Finley--started as a computer; currently the longest-serving woman at NASA: 1958-present)
Just a small sampling, of course! NASA currently has several female astronaut candidates, scheduled or waiting a turn, and many also retired without getting their chances; and of course NASA today employs many, many women in a  variety of positions. And I definitely didn't have room for the full list of NASA's "human computers", many of whom were African-American, but you can find one here: CRGIS. :)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Biblically Unisex

It can't be, right? Unisex names are a modern thing!
Well, no; not really. While using male/"unisex" names on girls is a pretty trendy thing in the US right now, there have always been unisex names.
I do think that many [rarer] Biblically masculine names should be up for grabs for both genders anyway--after all, who's to say they weren't used on girls in Biblical times? Most aren't etymologically gendered, and there are at least 10x more men named in the Bible than women....but I digress.
If you'd rather stick to unisex names there's precedent for, that's pretty understandable. ;)
  • Abihail "my father is might"
  • Abijah, Abiah "my father is Yahweh"
  • Ahlai "wishful"
  • Anah "answer"
  • Athaliah, Athlai "Yahweh binds"
  • Ephah "darkness"
  • Gomer "completion"
  • Hodiah "majesty of Yahweh"
  • Hushim "hastening"
  • Maacah, Maachah "depression [of the ground]"
  • Mehetabel "God makes glad"
  • Micaiah, Michaiah "who is like Yahweh?"
  • Noadiah "meeting with Yahweh"
  • Noah "movement" (fem), "rest" (masc)
    [usually spelled Noa when used on girls in the US today, but in the English Bible, both are Noah. The masculine name would really be more faithfully transliterated as Noach]
  • Oholibamah "tent in the high place"
  • Puah "glitter" (fem), "strike to pieces" (masc)
  • Shelomith "peaceable"
  • Shua "wealth" (fem), "cry for help" (masc)
  • Timna "restraint"

I also found another interesting set of names--Biblically used for both people and locations. When they have caught on in modern times, Biblical place names tend toward feminine (e.g. Bethany, Beulah, Moriah, Belén, Shiloh), but interestingly, most of these are masculine names.
Of course, many may be artifacts of transliteration, or places named for people. ;)
(I came across most of these by accident; it's probably nowhere near a complete list!)
  • Alemeth, Alameth "covering"
  • Anathoth "answers"
  • Ariel "lion of God"
    [masculine on people, but the symbolic name for Jerusalem, which is personified as feminine]
  • Azel "noble"
  • Bilhah "timid" [feminine]
  • Dedan--unknown meaning
  • Eden "delight" [yes, a masculine name in the Bible!]
  • Eder "flock"
  • Ephrath, Ephrathah "fruitful" [feminine]
  • Eshcol "cluster [like of grapes]"
  • Gilead "memorial cairn"
  • Haran "scorched"
  • Havilah poss. "circular" or "sand"
  • Hebron "association"
  • Hezron "court"
  • Jabesh "dry"
  • Japhia "shining"
  • Naamah "pleasantness" [feminine]
  • Naarah, Naarath "maiden" [feminine]
  • Ophir--unknown meaning
  • Ophrah "fawn"
  • Penuel "face of God"
  • Rehob "wide space" [not to be confused with feminine name Rahab]
  • Rekem "many-colored"
  • Rimmon, Remmon "pomegranate"
  • Sheba--meaning unknown
  • Teman "south"
  • Tirzah "delightful" [feminine]