Blind Watchers of the Sky: The People and Ideas That Shaped Our View of the Universe

Overview

Rocky Kolb's colorful recreation of the lives and accomplishments of Tycho, Kepler, Galileo, Herschel, Hubble, and other astronomers expands our image of scientists as merely long-haired youths dreaming under apple trees, disheveled old men with wild hair scribbling on blackboards, or bespectacled computer hackers. Contributing to our understanding of the universe have been princes and paupers, professors and mule drivers, solitary men and women working in isolation, and anonymous members of large scientific ...
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1996 Hard cover STATED 1ST PRINTING New in new dust jacket. BRIGHT SHINY, BRAND NEW Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Helix Books. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Rocky Kolb's colorful recreation of the lives and accomplishments of Tycho, Kepler, Galileo, Herschel, Hubble, and other astronomers expands our image of scientists as merely long-haired youths dreaming under apple trees, disheveled old men with wild hair scribbling on blackboards, or bespectacled computer hackers. Contributing to our understanding of the universe have been princes and paupers, professors and mule drivers, solitary men and women working in isolation, and anonymous members of large scientific teams. The only thing they all shared is an unrelenting curiosity about the universe. The book begins in 1572 with Tycho's startling revelation that the heavens can change, and ends with the explosive 20th-century discovery of the big bang. In an engaging, whimsical style, this leading cosmologist shares his personal insight into the profound ideas, silly misconceptions, and remarkable revolutions in thought that are all part of the process of discovery.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This examination of the often overlooked human side of scientific discovery links the methods of astronomers such as Tycho Brache, Kepler, Galileo, and Herschel with their discoveries, providing a fascinating look at early cosmology and the scientific process. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gilbert Taylor
Fermilab physicist Kolb introduces the pantheon of cosmologists for readers unaware of its membership and for the jaded set who have covered the story of Galileo et al. in dozens of popular treatments, thanks to Kolb's bright style and flashing humor. His style has been honed by lecturing to audiences ranging from third graders to Ph.D.s and here lends itself to a wonderfully proportioned rendering of science and biographical sketches. His narrative of the life of Kepler, who came from the original dysfunctional family, elicits numerous chuckles, then slips easily into his achievement of calculating orbits according to the heliocentric model. But as with every one of the greats Kolb portrays, Tycho through Hubble, Kepler's model was "blind" in some respect, leaving its refinement or overthrow to some future genius with his own human predilections, which accounts for a scientific process of jumps in knowledge rather than smooth progress toward the present big bang conception of the universe. Copious illustrations buttress this elucidating matrix of matter.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201489927
  • Publisher: Perseus Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Pages: 338
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.49 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Rocky Kolb, founding head of the NASA/Fermilab Theoretical Astrophysics Group and University of Chicago professor, combines art, humor, music, and philosophy in writings and lectures about cosmology for the general public.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
1 Eyes on the Skies 1
Pt. 1 The Solar System 11
2 Smashing the Celestial Spheres 13
3 Wars of the Worlds 43
4 The Galileo Equation 73
5 Newton at a Distance 113
Pt. 2 The Galaxy 137
6 The Third Dimension 139
7 Islands in the Sky 169
Pt. 3 The Universe 199
8 The Expanding Fog 201
9 A Matter of Degrees 237
10 Primordial Soup 261
11 The Raw Edge 283
The Devil in the Details 295
Bibliography 309
Permissions, Sources, and Credits 323
Acknowledgments 329
Index 331
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 2, 2011

    A book that everyone should read!!

    I have to say that this book is one in a very long list of books I have read in the past, is the most informative yet intriguing. I had to read this book mainly for a class for school. I was very skeptical at first when I received thinking that I was never going to finish it and frankly how it looked boring. I was clearly wrong. The more I dove in to the reading the more I fully enjoyed the read. I was surprised at how enticing the words and how Rocky Kolb, the author of the book, made it serious yet comical. I have learned a great deal from this one book. I will most definitely recommend this book to anyone, even if they do not like astronomy and math based books. It's a good book that everyone should read through out there lifetime. If you do enjoy those subjects them most definitely pick it up, get cozy and take off in to the world of the universe. I have a totally new perspective of how our universe really is. I also enjoyed being introduced to some of the most gifted scientists the world has ever seen. I learned new material that will go with me till I get old. I have enjoyed it, and I hope that you will too.

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