Times reporter and author George Johnson to speak at Stevens

10/28/05

Johnson will discuss Miss Leavitt's Stars, his latest book

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Author and New York Times reporter George Johnson will present a talk, "The Search for Miss Leavitt," sponsored by Stevens Institute of Technology's Center for Science Writings, on Tuesday, November 22, 1:00 p.m. Johnson will discuss his latest book, Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe (James Atlas Books/Norton, 2005) at the event, which will take place in the Bissinger Room, located on the 4th floor of Stevens' Wesley J. Howe Center. For directions and parking information, please call the contact at the top of this release.

Miss Leavitt's Stars tells the story of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who in the early 20th century worked as a human "computer" in the Harvard University Observatory. She was paid 25 cents per hour to examine photographic plates, checking for inconsistencies in variable stars. Through her observations, Leavitt discovered that a star's luminosity could be used to calculate its distance from earth. This gave astronomers a way to measure the Milky Way and the universe.

Johnson's latest book has been hailed in The Economist, The New York Times, and Scientific American, among other publications. In addition to Miss Leavitt's Stars, his most recent books include A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer (Knopf, 2003), Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in 20th-Century Physics (Knopf, 1999; Vintage paperback, 2000), and Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order (Knopf, 1995, Vintage paperback, 1996).

Johnson, a science writer who has been widely published, lives in Santa Fe, N.M. For more information about the author, please visit http://sciwrite.org/glj/.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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