The Glass Universe: The Hidden History of the Women Who Took the Measure of the Stars

Dava Sobel


‘A peerless intellectual biography. The Glass Universe shines and twinkles as brightly as the stars themselves’ The Economist

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dava Sobel returns with a captivating, little-known true story of women in science

Before they even had the right to vote, a group of remarkable women were employed by Harvard College Observatory as ‘Human Computers’ to interpret the observations made via telescope by their male counterparts each night.

The author of Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter and The Planets shines light on the hidden history of these extraordinary women who changed the burgeoning field of astronomy and our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.

Reviews of The Glass Universe: The Hidden History of the Women Who Took the Measure of the Stars

    • ‘It takes a talented writer to interweave professional achievement with personal insight. By the time I finished The Glass Universe, Dava Sobel’s wonderful, meticulous account, it had moved me to tears … Unforgettable’ Nature
    • ‘Sobel has done astronomy a valuable service in enabling a fascinating part of its history to become more widely known’ Spectator
    • ‘Sobel tells [the story] with brio and sympathy, making excellent use of the rich archival materials’ Guardian
    • ‘Engaging … Sobel has a knack for crisp narrative and a cracking story’ Financial Times
    • ‘A joy to read’ The Wall Street Journal
    • ‘Sobel lucidly captures the intricate, interdependent constellation of people it took to unlock mysteries of the stars … The Glass Universe positively glows’ NPR
    • ‘An elegant historical tale [from] the master storyteller of astronomy’ The Boston Globe
    • ‘Sobel vividly captures how her brilliant and ambitious protagonists charted the skies’ National Book Review
    • ‘Sensitive, exacting, and lit with the wonder of discovery’ Elizabeth Kolbert
    • ‘This is intellectual history at its finest’ Geraldine Brooks
    • ‘Sobel soars higher than ever before continuing her streak of luminous science writing with this fascinating, witty, and most elegant history’ Booklist, Starred Review