Boston is the perfect place for lifelong learners. With dozens of colleges in the area, one could probably attend a free lecture, performance, or event of some kind every night.
I finally made it to Harvard’s free monthly Observatory Night. This night usually entails a lecture and then a look-see through a telescope on the roof.
My friend Abby and I attended a couple of months ago. I chose this particular Observatory Night because the speaker would be talking more about history than science. Nothing against science…I just comprehend history better!
A science writer named Dava Sobel spoke about her recent book, The Glass Universe. She gave a broad overview of a number of women who were hired at the Observatory in the 1800s as human computers to translate the observations of male researchers to paper. But once photography started being used to document the stars, many of the women started making their own observations, discovering stars and designing classification systems.
After the lecture, we received the sad news that there would be no observation on the roof that night due to snow/ice. There were volunteers offering tours of the building and of a room that holds half a million glass plates (or at least a few million of the half a million?), but we would have had to wait for hours (literally) because so many people had signed up before us.
So we went on our way, vowing to return during nicer weather.