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The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the… (2016)

de Dava Sobel

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5342533,484 (3.73)64
The little-known true story of the unexpected and remarkable contributions to astronomy made by a group of women working in the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. --
  1. 10
    Miss Leavitt's Stars : The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe de George Johnson (themulhern)
    themulhern: Both books cover the same subject, and they don't entirely agree, which is interesting. "The Glass Universe" is longer and broader, "Miss Leavitt's Stars" is shorter and more focused.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 25 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The reader was very good, but despite once taking astronomy at MHC, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz........ ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
Not quite as engaging as [b: Hidden Figures|30840370|Hidden Figures The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space|Margot Lee Shetterly|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1474752658s/30840370.jpg|55627110], but still an interesting look at women in science and a relatively quick read. ( )
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
A fascinating account of the female astronomy team at the Harvard Observatory during the late nineteenth century and early to mid twentieth century. At the time, operating telescopes and doing other kinds of work outside at night were not considered "ladylike," but scientifically inclined women could work as "computers" instead, and calculate the positions of the stars and other astronomical objects. As time went on, photography revolutionized astronomy, and pictures of the night sky were captured on specially made glass photographic plates. The collection of glass plates expanded as Harvard astronomers built observatories around the world, and made plates of the Southern Hemisphere's night sky as well as the Northern Hemisphere's. The team of women began analyzing all of these plates as well, and along the way became experts on stellar spectroscopy, developed a meaningful classification of stars that is still used today, successfully determined the chemical composition of the stars, and worked out a method for using starlight to compute distances across space.

The hundreds of glass plates these women prepared and studied are still extant and reside in the archives of the Harvard Observatory, and modern astronomers still find them useful. The plates are currently being digitized so they can be available to astronomers all over the world, so in some ways things have come full circle.

Unusually for the time, they all received credit for their work during their lifetimes, but it seems their story has been forgotten in the intervening decades. This book tells it, and I greatly enjoyed it. ( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
A fascinating account of the female astronomy team at the Harvard Observatory during the late nineteenth century and early to mid twentieth century. At the time, operating telescopes and doing other kinds of work outside at night were not considered "ladylike," but scientifically inclined women could work as "computers" instead, and calculate the positions of the stars and other astronomical objects. As time went on, photography revolutionized astronomy, and pictures of the night sky were captured on specially made glass photographic plates. The collection of glass plates expanded as Harvard astronomers built observatories around the world, and made plates of the Southern Hemisphere's night sky as well as the Northern Hemisphere's. The team of women began analyzing all of these plates as well, and along the way became experts on stellar spectroscopy, developed a meaningful classification of stars that is still used today, successfully determined the chemical composition of the stars, and worked out a method for using starlight to compute distances across space.

The hundreds of glass plates these women prepared and studied are still extant and reside in the archives of the Harvard Observatory, and modern astronomers still find them useful. The plates are currently being digitized so they can be available to astronomers all over the world, so in some ways things have come full circle.

Unusually for the time, they all received credit for their work during their lifetimes, but it seems their story has been forgotten in the intervening decades. This book tells it, and I greatly enjoyed it. ( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
The Harvard Observatory pioneered observations of the heavenly bodies by photography and spectroscopy (as opposed to physical observations) in the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At that time Edward Pickering was the Observatory’s Director. He and his successors hired professional staff and student assistants, among them a good proportion of women, who made significant contributions to astronomy, in particular to the study and cataloging of the Stars. The women pursued graduate degrees, both Masters and PhDs, wrote catalogs, articles and books, and won international acclaim. This is their story.

At times the detail is overwhelming, but there is a Glossary, time table and list of “characters” at the back of the book. ( )
  steller0707 | Aug 25, 2019 |
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» Afegeix-hi altres autors (3 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Dava Sobelautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Bouvard, LaurenceNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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"Cercai comete per un'ora circa, poi mi trastullai a osservare le varietà di colore. Mi meraviglio di essere stata così a lungo insensibile a questa attrattiva celeste, le sfumature delle diverse stelle sono assai delicate nella loro molteplicità [...] Peccato che alcuni produttori non siano in grado di rubare alle stelle il segreto dei coloranti."
Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), docente di astronomia, Vassar College
"Le bianche cavalle delle luna galoppano nel cielo percuotendo con i loro zoccoli dorati la volta di vetro"
Amy Lowell (1874-1925), vincitrice del premio Pulitzer per la poesia
Dedicatòria
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To the ladies who sustain me:
Diane Ackerman, Jane Allen,
KC Cole, Mary Giaquinto, Sara James, Joanne Julian,
Zoe Klein, Celia Michaels, Lois Morris,
Chiara Peacock, Sarah Pillow,
Rita Reiswig, Lydia Salant, Amanda Sobel,
Margaret Thomspon, and Wendy Zomparelli
with love and thanks
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A little piece of heaven.
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The year 1925 brought belated recognition for Henrietta Leavitt, from an admirer who did not yet know that she had died. “Honoured Miss Leavitt,” began the letter of February 23 from Gosta Mittag-Leffler of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. “What my friend and colleague Professor von Zeipel of Uppsala has told me about your admirable discovery of the empirical law touching the connection between magnitude and period length for the S. Cephei-variables of the Little Magellan’s Cloud, has impressed me so deeply that I feel seriously inclined to nominate you to the Nobel prize in physics for 1926, although I must confess that my knowledge of the matter is as yet rather incomplete.” The writer, a ferocious advocate for the recognition of women in science, had agitated in 1889 to gain a full professorship at Stockholm University College for the Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya. In 1903 he successfully pressed the Nobel committee to include Madame Marie Curie in the physics prize being awarded to her husband, Pierre, and their countryman Henri Becquerel, the discoverer of radioactivity.
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The little-known true story of the unexpected and remarkable contributions to astronomy made by a group of women working in the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. --

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