The Glass Universe

The new book tells the story of the women who worked at the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s.

Observatory director Edward Pickering hired them because he believed women were careful workers—and would accept lower pay than men. There was a broad field for “woman’s work” in that exciting period when photography upended astronomy.

In the course of their labors, the women of “Pickering’s harem” helped discover the substance of the stars and the distances to them.


“Sobel continues her streak of luminous science writing with this fascinating, witty, and most elegant history of the women who worked in critical positions at the Harvard Observatory.” -Booklist (Read the full review)
“Like the women of the Harvard Observatory, Dava Sobel reveals worlds to us. The Glass Universe is sensitive, exacting, and lit with the wonder of discovery.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction. 
“This is intellectual history at its finest. Dava Sobel is extraordinarily accomplished at uncovering the hidden stories of science and conveying complex information with ease and grace.” —Geraldine Brooks, author of March and The Secret Chord.

Pre-order now from Penguin Random House