Harvard Gazette: Before Circuit Boards, Female "Computers" Set the Standard

Harvard Gazette : December 4, 2018

At the turn of the 19th century, the idea of women working was a foreign one, but at the Harvard College Observatory (HCO), it was the norm. From 1877 to 1919, Edward Charles Pickering, director of the HCO, led a team of more than 80 women to study glass plate photographs of the night sky. Pickering deliberately hired women, as he believed they were more detail oriented — a crucial trait for this work — and more affordable than men. The team is credited with numerous astronomical achievements and became known as the “Harvard Computers.”

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For "The Hanging Quilts of Measure," Max Murray (tuba) and Adi Snir (sax/trumpophone) turned the artist's stitches into improvisations. Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute

For "The Hanging Quilts of Measure," Max Murray (tuba) and Adi Snir (sax/trumpophone) turned the artist's stitches into improvisations. Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute