2017-02-17: Glass Universe, The

The Glass Universe

How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars (2016)

by Data Sobel (1947-)

This is interesting to me for two reasons.

As a book about astronomy, it is very accessible, with its focus on the period from the mid-late 1800s to the 1940s (and a bit beyond). This period laid the foundation for our current view of the universe, and yet did not require any esoteric knowledge. It is almost completely devoid of relativity and quantum mechanics. For this reason it should be very accessible to any reader with an interest in the sky, with no special education required.

It is also the story of how women contributed to astronomical knowledge in the face of discrimination against their talents; their deserving of equal pay for the same work done by men; and their deserving of official recognition in the form of degrees, titles, official positions, and job security. In the face of such discrimination, it is also the story of key men who made possible the great achievements of certain women in astronomy.

I heartily recommend this book.

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