November Book Recommendation

Hamilton RASC librarian Bruce Murray has reviewed “The Glass Universe” by Dava Sobel. This book is from 2016.

Beginning in the 1880s, the Harvard College Observatory began hiring graduates of the newly-formed women’s colleges as “human computers.” Their job was to apply mathematics to images male astronomers captured onto glass plates with telescopes. For the next forty years, these women would devote their lives to their work. The Glass Universe is their story.  Their attention to detail and capacity for tedium is truly underappreciated.

There are 550,000 photographic glass plates currently in the collection.

Section of plate B2312 (1888) showing Orion’s belt & the horsehead nebula.
Glass plate showing Halley’s Comet 1910

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