Miss Leavitt's Stars

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

George Johnson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Format: Paperback

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.

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