Lauren Gunderson’s 2015 play centers around the untold stories of female astronomers through the eyes of a real scientist Henrietta Leavitt, a female “computer” at Harvard College Observatory.
Leavitt is joined by her capable co-workers at the observatory, Annie Cannon and Williamina Fleming, who were restricted from the equipment used by the males. The women were required to settle in a cramped workroom, computing and cataloging distant stars and galaxies founded by male astronomers.
This true story of the 19th-century astronomers, “Silent Sky” explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications.