Letters From An Astrophysicist Audiobook
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Bookseller’s recommendation “Spectrography is a method of studying the stars by taking photographs, separating astral light into different wavelengths. The practice was first introduced by Dr. Henry Draper of the Harvard Observatory in the late 1800s, but the long and meticulous work of interpreting images and classifying stars was done by a group of women. In this long-overdue homage to Harvard’s “human computers,” Sobel, author of the classic Longitude, brilliantly intertwines science, history, and biography, charting not only advances in astrophysics from the 1870s to the 1940s, but also following the progress achieved by women. in asserting oneself in a field dominated by men.” Lori Greer, Politics and prose
Letters From An Astrophysicist Audiobook
From #1 New York Times best-selling author Dava Sobel to the inspiring (People), a little-known true story of women’s extraordinary contributions to astronomy.
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Named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Economist, Smithsonian, Nature and Science Friday NPR. Nominated for a PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary and Scientific Writing “Reading with Pleasure”. – Wall Street Magazine
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 through the telescope every night. At first, this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of local astronomers, but soon the women’s corps included graduates of the new women’s colleges – Vassar, Wellesley and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, ladies moved from calculation to the study of the stars captured every night on glass photographic plates.
The “glass universe” of half a million photographic plates that Harvard amassed over the following decades thanks to the generous support of Mrs. Anna Palmer Draper, widow of the pioneer of star photography, enabled women to make extraordinary discoveries that received worldwide recognition. They helped determine what stars are made of, divided stars into meaningful categories for further research, and found a way to measure distances in space using starlight. Their ranks included Williamina Fleming, a Scotswoman originally hired as a maid who subsequently identified ten novae and over three hundred variable stars; Annie Jump Cannon, who developed a stellar classification system that has been adopted by astronomers around the world and is still in use today; and Dr. Cecilia Helena Payne, who in 1956 became Harvard’s first female professor of astronomy and Harvard’s first female department chair.
Elegantly written and enriched with excerpts from letters, diaries and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden story of women whose contributions to the booming field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.
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DAVA SOBEL is the author of five books, including the New York Times bestsellers Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter, The Planets, and The Glass Universe. A former New York Times science reporter and longtime contributor to The New Yorker, Audubon, Discover, and Harvard Magazine, she is the recipient of the National Science Council Award for Individual Public Service and the Boston Science Museum’s Bradford Washburn Award, among others.
Reviews Named one of the best books of the month by Flavorwire, Bustle, Harper’s Bazaar, Real Simple, Refinery29, Men’s Journal, BBC and The National Book Review.
“RS. Sobel writes with attention to expressive detail and graceful turns of phrase. . . . [The Glass Universe] is a joy to read.” -Wall Street Magazine
“Sobel clearly describes the complex, interdependent constellation of people it took to unlock the mysteries of the stars. . . The glassy universe glows positively.” -NPR
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“Sobel mixes discussion of the most difficult topics with stories about the lives of his subjects, in the process showing how scientific and social progress often go hand in hand.” — New Yorker
“A peerless intellectual biography. The glass universe shines and twinkles as brightly as the stars themselves. – The Economist
“At the same time a comprehensive and detailed account of a breakthrough moment in the world of science, as well as a compelling portrait of pioneering women who contributed as much to women’s empowerment as they did to the global understanding of both astronomy and photography. ” —Harper Bazar
“[Sobel] traces a remarkable line in the accomplishments of American women… [and] captures the enduring spirit of Pickering’s female findings.” — USA Today
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“Sobel distinguished herself with her bright books about scientists and their discoveries. . . [She] vividly captured how her brilliant and ambitious protagonists mapped the heavens and found personal satisfaction in a triumphant discovery.” — National Book Review.
“A fascinating and inspiring story about. . . pioneer women shamefully ignored.” – Very simple
“Sobel sheds light on seven female astronomers of the 19th and 20th centuries who started out as ‘human computers’ interpreting data at the Harvard Observatory and then went on to dazzle the imagination… An inspiring look at the discoverers of celestial bodies.” People “An astronomically vast topic, generously studied.” — Oh, Oprah’s magazine
“It takes a talented writer to intertwine professional achievement with personal insight. By the time I finished The Glass Universe, Dava Sobel’s wonderful, meticulous account, it moved me to tears… Unforgettable.” — Sue Nelson, Nature “A fascinating read and a welcome reminder that American women have long dreamed of reaching for the stars.” — Book page
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“This is an intellectual story at its finest. Dava Sobel is extraordinarily successful in uncovering the hidden stories of science.” — Geraldine Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Chord and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March.
“[Sobel] soars higher than ever before… [continuing] a series of brilliant scientific papers with this gripping, witty, and most elegant story… The Glass Universe is a feast for those who yearn to soak up the forgotten histories of a determined American women who have expanded human knowledge.” – a list of books marked with an asterisk review.
“Sobel knows how to tell a compelling story… With grace, clarity, and a flair for characterization, [she] places these early female astronomers for the first time in the broader historical context of their field.” — Publishers Weekly, tagged review
“[The planets] allow us to fall in love with the skies again.” – The New York Times Book Review.
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“[Sobel] transcends her extraordinary talent for keeping readers enthralled… A magnificent and enticing book.” – Chronicles of San Francisco
“Sobel is a master storyteller… She brought a great scientist to life.” – The New York Times Book Review.
“Ms. Sobel is an elegant stylist, a captivating and effective storyteller, a writer who can bring the most dusty themes to life.” -New York Times