DEAF TEEN DISCOVERS FIRST CEPHEID VARIABLE STAR


Had John Goodricke been born much earlier than 1764, he might never have had the chance to develop his talent for astronomy.  Only a few years prior to his birth, most people equated deafness with idiocy, and did nothing to try to train or educate the deaf.

Fortunately, Goodricke's father had the means and knowledge necessary to find a place for John to be taught to read lips, speak, and to use an early method of sign language, along with the usual branches of learning available to well-to-do boys at the time.


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Observing Variable Stars
Disability, goofy wig no hindrance to scientific achievement

YORKSHIRE, England--When he began observing stars with his friends and neighbors, the Pigotts, 17-year-old John Goodricke never dreamed that two years later the Royal Society of London would present him with the prestigious Godfrey Copley science medal.

Goodricke, deaf since birth, merited the honor through his patient observation and measurement of the star Algol's variability. Goodricke would later be credited with the discovery of an entirely new class of variable stars -- the short period Cepheid variables, so named for the first star of its type discovered, delta Cephei.


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