* The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars is supposed to be an uplifting book about women scientists. And indeed, it presents compelling portraits of women who, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, analyzed and organized hundreds of thousands of photographic plates, captured by the male scientists, and discovered many stars while creating a logical classification of stars. How exciting (for someone who cares about astronomy; I think I’m sitting that one out).

Still, these women were paid peanuts and had the hardest time getting formal, funded jobs and university titles, and living off the generosity of the observatory patriarch, who seemed to be unusually open-minded but why did he not see that it was wrong to pay them 40% less than the men? It seems that the book should make a bigger deal of the basic inequity underlying the entire adventure..


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