Astronomical Society of Edinburgh
Journal 46

A Wee Bit About Nora Jenkinson

Your Editor recently found a book in the Edinburgh Room of the Public Library :

A Millennium of Fame of East Lothian
by David Dick, (Haddington 2000)

It is a compilation of short biographies of county notables over the last 1000 years, such as John Knox. And there is a 3-page write-up, with a photo, of our Honorary Member and Lorimer Medallist of 1993, Mrs Eleonora (Nora) Jenkinson.

Nora, now in her nineties, is still running her astronomy club at Harperdean farm after an amazing 26 years, interrupted on only 6 occasions by severe weather. The many young folk who have been enlightened by Nora included her own nephews, nieces and grandchildren, and some have gone on to take degrees in science, one of them in Astrophysics! They have a formidable array of instruments up to 14 inches including an 8-inch reflector which they built entirely themselves, grinding and testing the mirror. Robert McNaught at Siding Spring in Australia, who knows Nora very well, discovered an asteroid (one of many), number 4504 and had it named "Jenkinson" in her honour.

It is a good biography but has a few small errors, eg. The author thinks Siding Spring is in New Zealand. I got in touch with Nora a few weeks ago and she had never heard of the book. When I described it her reaction was characteristic :

"Oh, that rascal Davie Dick. Just wait til I see him!"

Dave Gavine

Bibliographic information:
A millennium of fame of East Lothian :200 lives of achievement /David Dick
/foreword by Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple
Haddington: Clerkington Pub. Co., c2000
448 p.; 21 cm