The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars - Dava Sobel

Dava Sobel's 'Glass Universe' has a fantastic premise: telling the story of the women who founded, funded, and worked in the Harvard Observatory from the late 19th century to well into the 20th.

There were marvelous strides made in astronomy during that time, and it is astonishing to think of how these women were able to parse out the mechanics and make-up of the stars from long examination of glass plate negatives.

The science was marvelous and astonishing. The women themselves, with very few exceptions, seemed to have escaped Sobel's notice. There was an enormous 'cast' of women for Sobel to profile, true, but she could have picked a few representative cases instead of picking 1, or at most 2, dramatic instances from the lives of dozens of scientists and patrons. This is unfortunate, as without a human touch to the narrative, the science made me glaze over.