Pioneer Works is pleased to host New York Times bestselling author Dava Sobel in conversation with artist Lia Halloran to discuss Sobel’s new book, The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars.
The Glass Universe tells the riveting story of “Pickering’s Harem,” a group of remarkable women hired as “computers” by Charles Pickering, the devoted director of the Harvard College Observatory. Paid 25 cents an hour, the female computers made critical contributions to our understanding of the universe before women had the right to vote. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, they turned to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates. The women of the Harvard College Observatory leveraged the “glass universe” of half a million plates amassed in this period to make extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim. Artist Lia Halloran expands the conversation with her perspective as an artist, having studied the glass plates for her own ongoing series Your Body is a Space that Sees, which has been awarded an Art Works Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
There will be music, drinks, food, a book signing after the event, and, weather permitting, an astronomical viewing.
Lia Halloran, Assistant Professor of Art and Director of the Painting and Drawing Department at Chapman University.
Dava Sobel, New York Time’s bestselling author of The Glass Universe.