Dava Sobel

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Dava Sobel
Dava Sobel 2015.jpg
Sobel in 2015
Born (1947-06-15) June 15, 1947 (age 75)[1]
The Bronx, New York City
EducationBronx High School of Science
Alma materBinghamton University
Websitewww.davasobel.com Edit this at Wikidata
Dava Sobel book inscription signature.jpg

Dava Sobel (born June 15, 1947) is an American writer of popular expositions of scientific topics. Her books include Longitude, about English clockmaker John Harrison; 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 about the Harvard Computers.


Sobel was born 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]

Sobel is the niece of journalist Ruth Gruber[5] and the cousin of epidemiologist David Michaels.

Dava Sobel in November 2007


The asteroid 30935 Davasobel is named after her.[6]

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.[7]


External video
video icon Presentation by Sobel on Longitude, June 17, 1997, C-SPAN
video icon Booknotes interview with Sobel on Longitude, January 17, 1999, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Sobel on Galileo's Daughter, December 14, 1999, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Sobel on Galileo's Daughter, November 19, 2000, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Sobel on Letters to Father, December 7, 2001, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Sobel on The Planets, November 15, 2005, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Sobel on The Glass Universe, January 19, 2017, C-SPAN


She was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2022 "for outstanding writings covering many centuries of key developments in physics and astronomy and the people central to those developments".[11]


  1. ^ Sobel, Dava. "Self-Portrait". Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  2. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes: Biography or Autobiography". Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  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. ^ Brawarsky, Sandee (November 22, 2016). "100 Years of Asking Questions". The Jewish Week. New York City. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  6. ^ "30935 Davasobel", Jet Propulsion Laboratory Small-Body Database Browser
  7. ^ "Transcript". Jennifer Byrne Presents: Dava Sobel. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  8. ^ Moore, Patrick (September 2, 2005). "Review: The Planets by Dava Sobel". The Guardian.
  9. ^ Brown, Helen (October 11, 2011). "Review: A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionised the Cosmos by Dava Sobel". The Telegraph.
  10. ^ "The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel". PenguinRandomhouse.com.
  11. ^ "Fellows nominated in 2022". APS Fellows archive. American Physical Society. Retrieved October 19, 2022.

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