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Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Forgotten Woman Who Discovered How to Meaure the Universe (Great Discoveries)

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Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Forgotten Woman Who Discovered How to Meaure the Universe (Great Discoveries) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


At the beginning of the twentieth century, scientists argued over the size of the universe: was it, as the astronomer Harlow Shapley argued, the size of the Milky Way, or was there more truth to Edwin Hubble’s claim that our own galaxy is just one among billions?

The answer to the controversy: a “yardstick” suitable for measuring the cosmos, was discovered by Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who was employed by the Harvard Observatory as a number cruncher, at a wage not dissimilar from that of workers in the nearby textile mills. Miss Leavitt’s Stars uncovers her neglected history, and brings a fascinating and turbulent period of astronomical history to life.

Synopsis:

"A short, excellent account of [Leavitt's] extraordinary life and achievements."--Simon Singh, New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

At the beginning of the twentieth century, scientists argued over the size of the universe: was it, as the astronomer Harlow Shapley argued, the size of the Milky Way, or was there more truth to Edwin Hubble's claim that our own galaxy is just one among billions?

The answer to the controversy--a "yardstick" suitable for measuring the cosmos--was discovered by Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who was employed by the Harvard Observatory as a number cruncher, at a wage not dissimilar from that of workers in the nearby textile mills. Miss Leavitt's Stars uncovers her neglected history, and brings a fascinating and turbulent period of astronomical history to life.

Synopsis:

How big is the universe? In the early twentieth century, scientists took sides. One held that the entire universe was contained in the Milky Way galaxy. Their champion was the strong-willed astronomer Harlow Shapley. Another camp believed that the universe was so vast that the Milky Way was just one galaxy among billions'"the view that would prevail, proven by the equally headstrong Edwin Hubble.

Almost forgotten is the Harvard Observatory "computer"'"a human number cruncher hired to calculate the positions and luminosities of stars in astronomical photographs'"who found the key to the mystery. Radcliffe-educated Henrietta Swan Leavitt, fighting ill health and progressive deafness, stumbled upon a new law that allowed astronomers to use variable stars'"those whose brightness rhythmically changes'"as a cosmic yardstick. Miss Leavitt's Starsis both a masterly account of how we measure the universe and the moving story of a neglected genius

About the Author

George Johnson, an award-winning New York Times science reporter, is the author of several books, most recently A Shortcut Through Time and Strange

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393328561
Author:
Johnson, George
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Astrophysics & Space Science
Subject:
Cosmology
Subject:
Astronomy
Subject:
Physics-Astrophysics
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series:
Great Discoveries
Publication Date:
June 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
7.86x6.14x.43 in. .34 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » Women
Science and Mathematics » Astronomy » Cosmology
Science and Mathematics » Astronomy » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Astrophysics

Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Forgotten Woman Who Discovered How to Meaure the Universe (Great Discoveries) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 176 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393328561 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "A short, excellent account of [Leavitt's] extraordinary life and achievements."--Simon Singh, New York Times Book Review
"Synopsis" by , At the beginning of the twentieth century, scientists argued over the size of the universe: was it, as the astronomer Harlow Shapley argued, the size of the Milky Way, or was there more truth to Edwin Hubble's claim that our own galaxy is just one among billions?

The answer to the controversy--a "yardstick" suitable for measuring the cosmos--was discovered by Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who was employed by the Harvard Observatory as a number cruncher, at a wage not dissimilar from that of workers in the nearby textile mills. Miss Leavitt's Stars uncovers her neglected history, and brings a fascinating and turbulent period of astronomical history to life.
"Synopsis" by , How big is the universe? In the early twentieth century, scientists took sides. One held that the entire universe was contained in the Milky Way galaxy. Their champion was the strong-willed astronomer Harlow Shapley. Another camp believed that the universe was so vast that the Milky Way was just one galaxy among billions'"the view that would prevail, proven by the equally headstrong Edwin Hubble.

Almost forgotten is the Harvard Observatory "computer"'"a human number cruncher hired to calculate the positions and luminosities of stars in astronomical photographs'"who found the key to the mystery. Radcliffe-educated Henrietta Swan Leavitt, fighting ill health and progressive deafness, stumbled upon a new law that allowed astronomers to use variable stars'"those whose brightness rhythmically changes'"as a cosmic yardstick. Miss Leavitt's Starsis both a masterly account of how we measure the universe and the moving story of a neglected genius
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