by Lauren Gunderson
A witty, fictionalized portrayal of the life of Henrietta Swan Leavitt who receives the opportunity of a lifetime when she is called to join Harvard’s corps of “computers”. With her compatriots, Annie Jump Cannon and Wilhelmina Flemming, Leavitt searches photographs of the night sky, mapping the stars in order to determine our place in the galaxy. Family and romance vie for her attention as she catalogues the stars, and she is torn between a life of love, of duty, and of devotion to her science.
Leavitt’s struggle as a woman in a male-dominated scientific field remains relevant today. Though many barriers to entry in physics and astronomy have been overcome, women still face being paid less than men across the board, and women of color particularly face unique challenges in science academia and industry.