- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 51 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: April 5, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01DMYC8TQ
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars Audiobook – Unabridged
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As the work grew, and young JPL expanded, the number of women "computers" (they computed! The term predates the machines) grew. The woman who was in charge of the "computers," Macie Roberts, hired only women for the department, because she wanted to preserve the camaraderie and team spirit so essential to this critical work. Thus, in a benevolent form of gender discrimination, JPL developed a sterling team of brilliant women. Macie often reminded the women, "In this job you need to look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, and work like a dog."
As we learn about the development of rocketry, the author, Nathalia Holt, weaves in cultural developments, such as the invention of pantyhose and the rise of the women's liberation movement. She also includes snippets from the women's personal lives (like the fact that pregnancy meant instant termination--until the program realized it was dead without the women computers, and adapted flexibility to accommodate them).
The women went from pencils and notebook paper to making history. Their calculations put the first man on the moon. Their formulas became code, and they became the first computer programmers. As Holt says, "You can write a lot of programs in five decades. The code that (the women) wrote would continue to work its way into spacecraft, navigation systems, climate studies, and Mars rovers. It would get spliced up and repurposed, pasted into different missions, sent out into space, driven on far-off planets...to (currently orbiting Mars and Saturn spacecraft)...to future Earth-orbiting instruments designed to study our own world."
If you are one of those who believes females aren't geared toward math and science, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to read this engaging, compelling book. It will tell you of a time when women, using only their minds and pencils, rendered the complex calculations that allowed the United States of America to have a space program at all.
I highly recommend this to anyone interested in our space program.
I also highly recommend it to anyone who has any doubts of a woman's ability to succeed in a Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) field.
Just an amazing story about some amazingly talented women who did amazing things.