The Glass Universe

The Glass Universe

How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

eBook - 2016
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In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or 'human computers,' to interpret the observations their male counterparts made via telescope each night. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the women turned to studying images of the stars captured on glass photographic plates, making extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim. They helped discern what the stars were made of, divided them into meaningful categories for further research, and even found a way to measure distances across space by starlight. Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries,and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of a group of remarkable women whose vital contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.
Publisher: [Sydney] : 2016. Fourth Estate,
ISBN: 9780007548194
Branch Call Number: REM
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Bolinda Digital BorrowBox

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tjdickey
Mar 30, 2019

The Harvard Observatory collected half a million photographic glass plates of stars, nebulae, comets, and even complete galaxies; this is the fascinating story of the women who studied them, and developed some of the fundamental laws of modern astronomy and spectral analysis to the field.

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mammothhawk229e
Aug 06, 2017

Hard to say if book optioned as movie by HBO or Disney given underdog style & tedious work akin to accounting.
Still good group biography & huge impact on astronomy.
Today data stored in computer. However, glass pictures still useful. EMP-proof.

p
patcarstensen
Jun 20, 2017

It's a group portrait, so especially toward the end, you get a better idea of the overall program than the individual women, but the book is an important contribution to the history of science.

e
EmilyEm
Jan 07, 2017

Writer Dava Sobel pulls from obscurity women of science who worked at the Harvard College Observatory in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, 'computing' the stars. If you've been fascinated by starry nights and like learning of unheralded women who made a difference, this is a book to read. It, at times, gets detailed classifying stars, but it's easy to skim a bit!

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