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Maria Winkelmann: Demystifying The Life and Times of German Astronomer Maria Winkelmann

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The artwork depicts a penguin standing on a small clump of ice, next to an iceberg, on a colorful sunset. I have always been inspired by sunsets, southern and northern lights, and simply ay natural light phenomena. Additionally, my favorite animal is the penguin, and I like the blending of the different tones of blue and white on ice and ocean water. One can see in the drawing the blending of dark blue colors of the ocean, which was drawn with narrow triangles, along with greenish and whitish tones; the different blends of light blue and white on the rocky iceberg on the right; the sun, spiraling outwards and radiating yellow, orange, red, purple, and green light; finally, the sky, whose gradient blends red, orange, and yellow colors.

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To use all of the congruence theorems the drawing had to have many types of reflections, rotations, and translation of triangles to build a macro shape. The penguin’s head is composed of 6 equilateral triangles that form a hexagon. SAS can be proved since every opposite or reflected triangle will have the same lengths of the legs and the same central, vertical angle (see number 1). ASA can be proved on any of the reflected triangles across one of their sides, since the length of the side will be the same, as well as the angles formed to the sides of it (see number 2). SSS can be proved by the triangles that compose the sky, since it is a tessellation of reflected triangles, meaning that all of them are the same size because all of their lengths are the same (see number 3). AAS can be proved by two of the triangles that make up the sky since they make a parallelogram with two parallel sides on opposite sides. This means that there are two congruent alternate interior angles, two congruent sides, and two congruent opposite angles of the parallelogram (see number 4). HL is proven by two reflected right triangles that make up the iceberg because they have the same side hypotenuse length and the same right angle since both triangles make up a kite (see number 5).

Maria Winkelmann was a German (Panitsch) born woman who lived from 1670 to 1720. She was one of the first astronomers of her time, and she is thought to have learned astronomy from her father, her uncle, and a self-taught astronomer (who later becomes her husband) by the name of Christoph Arnold of Sommerfeld, as she never had any formal education or schooling. Maria was the first woman to make an astronomic discovery; she discovered the Comet of 1702. Additionally, she is known for her research regarding the Saturn-Jupiter cycle and the Northern Lights. However, since she was a woman, she was not credited to discover the comet, and society saw her as an “assistant” to her husband, rather than an equal scientist. Later on, she was rejected from various positions as an independent astronomer, and rarely was credited for her knowledge. However, she continued to work in her field and create almanacs and calendars, as well as record weather information for the public until she physically was unable to study astronomy.

Maria obviously supported women’s rights, as well as the natural sciences. Her father began her education because he believed she should have the same education as young boys got, so her value of education and continuing education was extremely high. Maria was left without any income during two separate times; her husband’s death and her later boss’ death, so it’s inferred she supports helping the lower classes. She was a devout Lutheran, so she supported salvation for all, and other more modern Christian beliefs. Her political status and economic status have remained unknown.

  • All people should be free, as all people deserve to be free. Lutheranism teaches us that we as individuals are all equal.
  • All people are created equal, and it’s unfortunate that we don’t see this being illustrated in society. Scripture teaches us that all people of God can be saved.
  • Society should try to prevent inequality, because they are more influential and directly involved with the people. However, if governments are interested in creating equality, they may have more control over the actual laws regarding this issue, so they are a help to society’s efforts.
  • Power becomes corrupting or abusive if the power disallows people from their proper recognition or fails to respect the truth of an issue. If a decision is made from a powerful person’s opinion rather than the truth, the power is being abused.
  • Religion is an important part of people and society, but it does not necessarily need to be a deciding means of governmental bodies or decisions.
  • Economically, a nation should support the sciences, and support technology and the working class. The New World isn’t necessarily the answer, but it could provide for technological and scientific growth, so it could help economic growth.
  • Science can solve our social and political issues. Science helps people understand the world around them, and it drives people to be open minded in the world. Individuals involved with science have an involvement in social progress, and it explains reasoning behind nature, which is the root of political issues. Science is universal, as well, rather than subjective.
  • The arts are more subjective than science, and they don’t require as many natural explanations as they do interpretations. Art can be used for individuals to express, which brings society together and causes reactions, but art does not bring a solution to issues as quickly or as solidly as science does, since science is objective.
  • A ruler should try to deal with the lower classes by supporting them if they are making social progress or working without benefits, to ensure that all people are treated equally and cared for if they are doing their society good.
  • Women should be equals to men in society. There is no reason that men are to be supported more than women; women are capable of everything men are. Women should be encouraged to work and should have an opportunity for education, and they should get the same benefits and recognitions as men.
  • Education should be for everyone. Education brings social progress, and having a government regulated education system for everyone gives individuals an opportunity which may otherwise not be possible for the individual.
  • Society has progressed, because science and technology have led to new understandings about the world and humanity.
  • For man to progress, education is key.

Rule of law can be abusive, because many governments tend to favor particular groups of people and oppress other groups. Since society cannot have a say in this issue, and the rules are almost always set in stone, the abuse from rule of law can go for long periods of time without anyone to stop it.

These concepts relate and have related to the world since the beginning of math, design, and infrastructure. Even before common era, people from egyptian civilizations had built amazing physical structures such as the pyramids of giza, which required extensive knowledge about geometry and triangles. These needed to match up with the base lengths of the triangles to be congruent, be perpendicular to adjacent ones, and be parallel to opposite ones, creating a square. They also needed to build the sides of the pyramid using isosceles triangles so they could each support the others and make a stable building. Additionally, triangles are widely needed in the areas of architecture, because proving congruence of sides and overall triangular structures will help the architect develop better and more accurate designs of structures that are meant to be built, ensuring the stability of the building and safety of its inhabitants.

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The project helped me to better understand the relationships between the sides and angles of triangles. It helped me memorize, understand, and apply the 5 properties of congruent triangles (SAS, SSS, ASA, AAS, and HL) as well as the transformations of polygons. My final product was okay, but since I don’t really like drawing, coloring, or painting, I honestly did not think it was that fun. Regardless, It did help me understand, and I believe it is a good, alternative way of getting students to learn about triangles and polygons.

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