Dava Sobel

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Dava Sobel
Dava Sobel with hands folded, November 8, 2007.jpg
Sobel speaking at a Yale event in 2007
Born (1947-06-15) June 15, 1947 (age 71)
The Bronx, New York City
Education The Bronx High School of Science
Alma mater Binghamton University

Dava Sobel (born June 15, 1947)[1] is an American writer of popular expositions of scientific topics. Her books include Longitude, about English clockmaker John Harrison, and Galileo's Daughter, about Galileo's daughter Maria Celeste, and The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars.


Sobel was born on June 15, 1947, in The Bronx, New York City. She graduated from The Bronx High School of Science and Binghamton University. She wrote Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time in 1995. The story was made into a television movie, of the same name by Charles Sturridge and Granada Film in 1999, and was shown in the United States by A&E.

Her book Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love was a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.[2]

She holds honorary doctor of letters degrees from the University of Bath and Middlebury College, Vermont, both awarded in 2002.[3]

Sobel made her first foray into teaching at the University of Chicago as the Vare Writer-in-Residence in the winter of 2006. She taught a one-quarter seminar on writing about science.

She served as a judge for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award in 2012.[4]



The asteroid 30935 Davasobel is named after her.[8]

Sobel states she is a chaser of solar eclipses and that "it's the closest thing to witnessing a miracle". As of August 2012 she had seen eight, and planned to see the November 2012 total solar eclipse in Australia.[9]


  1. ^ Sobel, Dava. "Self-Portrait". Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes: Biography or Autobiography". Retrieved 2017-04-20. 
  3. ^ "Dava Sobel Biography". Archived from the original on December 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Announcing the 2012 PEN Literary Award Recipients". PEN American Center. October 15, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ Moore, Patrick (2 September 2005). "Review: The Planets by Dava Sobel". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ Brown, Helen (11 October 2011). "Review: A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionised the Cosmos by Dava Sobel". The Telegraph. 
  7. ^ http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/315726/the-glass-universe-by-dava-sobel/9780670016952/
  8. ^ "30935 Davasobel", Jet Propulsion Laboratory Small-Body Database Browser
  9. ^ "Jennifer Byrne Presents: Dava Sobel". Retrieved August 29, 2012. 

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