The Glass Universe - Summary and Key Ideas

The book The Glass Universe (2016) is about the remarkable women who worked at the Harvard College Observatory in the late 1800s and early 1900s, using their keen intellect and perseverance to revolutionize our understanding of the universe. Through their meticulous work with glass plates of stars, they made groundbreaking discoveries about the nature of galaxies, stars, and the cosmos itself.

This book is a perfect read for individuals that are interested in astronomy, history, and women's empowerment. They enjoy learning about the contributions of women scientists and their impact on the field of astronomy.

Buy the book
The Glass Universe

Key ideas


Women's contribution to astronomy.


Williamina Fleming's discovery of white dwarf stars.

Play in App

Henrietta Swan Leavitt's discovery of the period-luminosity relationship.

Play in App

Annie Jump Cannon's development of the stellar classification system.

Play in App

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin's discovery of the composition of stars.

Play in App

The Harvard Computers' contribution to astronomy during World War I.

Play in App

The decline of women's role in astronomy after World War II.

Play in App

Play in App

Play in App

Play in App

Play in App

Play in App
Get the App!
Access all 8 key ideas for free! 🥳

Summary & Review

In "The Glass Universe," Dava Sobel takes us on a fascinating journey through the lives of the women who worked at the Harvard College Observatory in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These women, known as "computers," were instrumental in making groundbreaking discoveries about the cosmos, despite facing discrimination and being relegated to the background of scientific research.

Dava Sobel

Dava Sobel is an American writer and science enthusiast. She earned a degree in science from the State University of New York and worked as a science journalist for the New York Times. Sobel is known for her ability to make complex scientific topics accessible and engaging for the general public. She has received numerous awards for her work in science communication and has been a guest speaker at various universities and institutions.

Explore more book summaries

The Glass Castle

The book The Glass Castle (2005) is about a young girl named Jeannette Walls and her unconventional upbringing with her dysfunctional family. Walls tells a captivating story of resilience, love, and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and achieve greatness.

Exponential Theory

Exponential Theory is a book that encourages readers to think big and make a significant impact on the world, providing insights and strategies to solve global problems and create innovative companies. It also shares stories of individuals and groups who have made significant changes in the world through their big thinking.

Machine Learning For Dummies

"Machine Learning For Dummies" is a comprehensive guide that introduces readers to the fundamental concepts of machine learning, providing practical advice on how to apply these techniques in real-world scenarios.

The Tipping Point

The book The Tipping Point (2000) is about how little things can make a big difference. Malcolm Gladwell explores the idea that trends, behaviors and ideas can spread like viruses and how a small change can lead to a tipping point causing a major shift.

The Racial Healing Handbook

The Racial Healing Handbook is a comprehensive workbook designed to help individuals of all racial backgrounds understand themselves as racial/cultural beings, challenge privilege, confront systemic racism, and engage in collective healing. It provides practical activities, exercises, and strategies for personal growth and transformation in the context of race and racism.

The Art of War

The book The Art of War (5th century BC) is about the ultimate strategy guide for winning battles and succeeding in life. Sun Tzu's timeless principles teach how to outsmart opponents, anticipate their moves and conquer them without ever having to fight.