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Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering…

Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer (édition 2013)

par Robert Burleigh (Auteur), Raul Colon (Illustrateur)

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An illustrated portrait of astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt traces the years she spent measuring stars from her position at the Harvard College Observatory and her important discoveries that enabled the scientific community to gain a fuller understanding of the universe's vast size.
Titre:Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer
Auteurs:Robert Burleigh (Auteur)
Autres auteurs:Raul Colon (Illustrateur)
Info:Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (2013), 32 pages
Collections:Votre bibliothèque

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Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer par Robert Burleigh

  1. 00
    Silent Sky par Lauren Gunderson (bookworm12)
    bookworm12: A brilliant play about Henrietta Leavitt's life.

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A brilliant true story of Henrietta Leavitt, an astronomer whose discoveries paved the way for many leaps forward in science. Pair this one with the adult play, "Silent Sky" if her story interests you. ( )
  bookworm12 | Jan 21, 2021 |
This is the story of Henrietta Leavitt. She was born in 1868, and as a young girl was fascinated by the sky and the stars. She went into astronomy, even though there were very few women. She was hired by Harvard College Observatory, not as an astronomer, but as a human computer along with other women. She looked at photos of the previous evening stars, and measured them from the previous night. She soon saw differences and patterns. Her discovery of the way certain stars twinkle helped us understand that our universe was much larger than we thought. Most people thought the universe was the Milky Way, which was even bigger than anyone had thought.
I love to read stories about women that have made major contributions to science and to our understanding of our place in the universe. These women should be known. And when a little girl sees that a women helped us know that our universe is vast, then who knows what that little girl may one day help us understand. ( )
  Misskamm | May 21, 2019 |
I thoroughly enjoyed "Look Up!' and its' messages to its' young readers. This book is an account of Henrietta Leavitt, who helped discover the first accurate method for measuring distance in space. It begins with her as a child wondering "How high? How high is the sky?" and journeys through her life as a student, worker, and astronomer. It exemplifies hard work, perseverance, and not letting gender stereotypes confine your successes. The way the book read was wonderful and it gave a glimpse of what she was thinking sometimes too. The illustrations were classic, beautiful, and captured the essence of the time and space. I especially loved how it ended with her same question "How high? How high is the sky?" because now we as the reader know that she discovered just that. There is also a glossary and more information about Henrietta in the back of the book. ( )
  owaguespack | Aug 30, 2018 |
Henrietta Swan Leavitt always wanted to be an astronomer, but at the time she graduated from Radcliffe College in 1892, such careers were not feasible for women. Instead, Leavitt found a job at the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge as one of group of all-women human “computers.” These “computers” worked to measure and catalog the brightness of stars in photographic plates from the observatory telescopes, which women were not allowed to operate. (Edward Pickering, a noted astronomer who was head of the Harvard College Observatory, apparently hired women for this job to save money; he would have had to pay men more for doing the same job. Notably, other women in this group also became well-respected astronomers, including Annie Jump Cannon and Williamina Fleming.)

Leavitt received 30 cents an hour for her painstaking work studying plates with “variable stars,” those with luminosity that varied over time. Leavitt’s perseverance led to her discovery of how to measure the galactic distances using these so-called Cepheid variables. Overall, she discovered over 2,400 variable stars, approximately half the known total in that era. Edwin Hubble, who used her findings to establish that the universe was expanding, often said she deserved the Nobel Prize. By working out the “distance key,” Henrietta Swan Leavitt made possible all of the subsequent discoveries in astronomy of the 19th and 20th centuries, according to the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Leavitt was made head of stellar photometry in 1921 by new director Harlow Shapley, but she died late in the year from cancer, at age 53. Shapley later said, “If she had been free from those necessary chores [as a “computer”], I feel sure that Miss Leavitt’s scientific contributions would have been even more brilliant than they were.”

This book begins when Henrietta was a young girl, gazing at stars and dreaming of learning more about them, a trait that did not diminish over time but rather grew stronger:

“At work she looked and looked and looked, until her eyes blurred. When she closed her eyes, she could still see the star dots, dancing across the inside of her eyelids.”

When Henrietta had her breakthrough, she was [amazingly enough] able to publish her findings, proving, as the author states, “that the smallest observation, the tiniest discovery, often leads to something very important.”

An Afterword includes quotes by famous people about the stars, some additional background about Henrietta Leavitt, the names of some other women astronomers, and a glossary.

The prose isn’t all that remarkable, but the illustrations by Raúl Colón, done in his trademark style of watercolor washes, colored pencils and lithograph pencils, are lovely, and go much farther than the text in conveying the wonder of the night skies.

Evaluation: The concepts in here are a little difficult for the intended audience of 4-8, but the general idea, of a woman making important discoveries through a combination of dreams and persistence, is quite clear. The author never mentions that Henrietta became deaf (from an illness) after graduating from Radcliffe - an interesting omission, since that fact makes her accomplishments at that time all the more unusual. ( )
  nbmars | Mar 12, 2016 |
Brief, simple introduction to the pioneering astronomer. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Robert Burleighauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Burleigh, Robertauteur principaltoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Burleigh, Robertauteur principaltoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Colón, RaúlIllustrateurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
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An illustrated portrait of astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt traces the years she spent measuring stars from her position at the Harvard College Observatory and her important discoveries that enabled the scientific community to gain a fuller understanding of the universe's vast size.

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