Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars

by Holt, Nathalia, 1980-

Format: Print Book 2016.
Availability: Available at 26 Libraries 27 of 28 copies
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Bethel Park Public Library Nonfiction 629.4072 HO
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Sewickley Public Library Nonfiction 629.4072 HOL 2016
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Summary

In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn't turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women--known as "human computers"--who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we've been, and the far reaches of space to which we're heading.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* Wow! Talk about forgotten history! Holt (Cured: The People Who Defeated HIV, 2014), tackles the lost story of women at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, giving readers not only an inside look at how it came to have the highest percentage of female employees in NASA but also how JPL itself was formed and how its revolutionary projects (Voyager, Mars rovers) were developed. Those interested in space history will find much to enjoy here, but it is the stories of the women involved, highlighted in sections by decade, that commands attention. Their role as computers individuals capable of making blazingly fast calculations of the highest math was critical to JPL's success, and their department became a bastion for women in the workplace. The computers worked long hours, married, had children, left to raise families, and often returned out of longing for the achievements possible at JPL. Holt interviewed many of them and mined existing histories for insights, and her stellar research is evident on every page. This is an excellent contribution to American history, valuable not only for what it reveals about the space program and gender equality but even more as great reading. Book clubs will be lining up.--Mondor, Colleen Copyright 2016 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Holt (Cured), a microbiologist and science writer, honors the lives and work of the women who provided the fledgling Jet Propulsion Lab with computing power, in this accessible and human-centered history. The JPL began in the late 1930s as a tight-knit group of enthusiastic male rocket designers (known as the Suicide Squad) who met at the Caltech campus. They were backed up by an all-female group of human "computers" who were responsible for solving-by hand-the math that powered the men's designs. The women had all excelled in math, physics, chemistry, and engineering-often they were the only women in their classes-but no company would hire one as an engineer or scientist. The JPL allowed them to put their skills to work in a field that would grow from "fringe science" to cutting-edge space exploration. Holt cheerfully describes the women of JPL (and JPL itself), their triumphs, and the inevitable questions about when they would marry and quit working to raise families. The 1960s brought birth control pills, pantsuits, and changing attitudes about women's roles, just as JPL was expanding human knowledge of the solar system. Holt's accessible and heartfelt narrative celebrates the women whose crucial roles in American space science often go unrecognized. Illus. Agent: Laurie Abkemeier, DeFiore and Company. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Jet Propulsion Laboratory (U.S.) -- History.
Women mathematicians -- United States -- Biography.
Women in computer science -- United States -- Biography.
Women computer programmers -- United States -- Biography.
Women mathematicians -- United States -- History.
Women computer programmers -- United States -- History.
Rocketry -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Astronautics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Publisher New York :2016.
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description xiii, 338 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 293-323) and index.
ISBN 9780316338929
0316338923
9780316338905
0316338907
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