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Miss Leavitt's stars : the untold story of the woman who discovered how to measure the universe

Author: George Johnson
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, ©2005.
Series: Great discoveries.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
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  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Henrietta Swan Leavitt; Henrietta Swan Leavitt
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: George Johnson
ISBN: 0393051285 9780393051285
OCLC Number: 57557429
Description: xiv, 162 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.
Contents: Prologue : the village in the canyon --
Black stars, white nights --
Hunting for variables --
Henrietta's law --
Triangles --
Shapley's ants --
The late, great Milky Way --
In the realm of the nebulae --
The mysterious K --
The cosmic stampede --
Ghost stories --
Epilogue : fire on the mountain.
Series Title: Great discoveries.
Responsibility: George Johnson.
More information:

Abstract:

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. This book is both an account of how we measure the universe, and the moving story of a neglected genius.--From publisher description.

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Linked Data


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