Cover image for The glass universe : how the ladies of the Harvard Observatory took the measure of the stars
Title:
The glass universe : how the ladies of the Harvard Observatory took the measure of the stars
Author:
Sobel, Dava, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Unabridged.
Publication Information:
[New York] : Penguin Audio, [2016]
Physical Description:
10 audio discs (12 hr., 30 min.) : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Summary:
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.--

"In the late 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. At the outset this group consisted of the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but soon the female corps included graduates of the new women's colleges--Vassar, Wellesley, Radcliffe, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned from computation to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates. The "glass universe" of half a million plates that Harvard amassed over the ensuing decades--through the generous support of Mrs. Anna Palmer Draper, the widow of a pioneer in stellar photography--enabled the women to make extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim. They helped discern what the stars were made of, divided the stars into meaningful categories for further research, and even found a way to measure distances across space by starlight. Their ranks included Williamina Fleming, a Scottish immigrant originally hired as a maid who went on to identify ten novae and more than three hundred variable stars, Annie Jump Cannon, who designed a stellar classification system that was adopted by astronomers the world over and is still in use today; and Dr. Cecilia Helena Payne, who in 1956 became the first woman professor of astronomy at Harvard--and Harvard's first female department chair. Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of the women whose contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe."--Jacket of hardcover edition.
General Note:
Compact discs.
Language:
English
Contents:
Part one: The colors of starlight. Mrs. Draper's intent ; What Miss Maury saw ; Miss Bruce's largesse ; Stella nova ; Bailey's picture from Peru -- Part two: Oh, be a fine girl, kiss me!. Mrs. Fleming's title ; Pickering's "harem" ; Lingua franca ; Miss Leavitt's relationship ; The Pickering fellows -- Part three: In the depths above. Shapley's "kilo-girl" hours ; Miss Payne's thesis ; The Observatory Pinafore ; Miss Cannon's prize ; The lifetimes of stars -- Some highlights in the history of the Harvard College Observatory -- A catalogue of Harvard astronomers, assistants, and associates.
Corporate Subject:
Genre:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780735288645
Format :
Audiobook on CD