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From the Trade Paperback edition.
Science writer Bartusiak (Through a Universe Darkly) vividly tells the story behind the discovery that changed our cozy view of the universe. One hundred years ago, the Milky Way was all the cosmos we knew, "a lone, star-filled oasis surrounded by a darkness of unknown depth." But in 1929, word came that the universe was expanding. The find is largely attributed to astronomer Edwin Hubble, a Rhodes scholar and dandy, while he was observing the heavens through Mount Wilson's 100-inch telescope. Hubble became a media hit, but as Bartusiak explains, this finding was part of a long chain of discoveries made at the time. James Keeler's stellar photographs first revealed mysterious "celestial flocks" of fainter nebulae, and Henrietta Leavitt's relentless study of variable stars became the basis for determining stellar distances. Hubble's rival, Harlow Shapley, unveiled the architecture of the Milky Way and Earth's insignificant position within it. From the women "computers" who analyzed stellar photographs for Harvard to Mars-mad Percival Lowell, Bartusiak reveals the vibrant beginnings of modern astronomy, along with all the dreams and fears, rivalries and triumphs, of those involved. (Apr. 7)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
During the first 50 years of the 20th century, astronomy theory met, and sometimes clashed, with astronomy data. Advances in instrumentation, mathematical calculations, and spectroscopy, along with a group of insightful people on the stage at the right time, made for high drama. Bartusiak, a renowned science writer (Through a Universe Darkly) and instructor at MIT, has crafted a remarkable story of the events and people leading to our awakening comprehension of the larger universe. Staying true to the scientific topic, she doesn't overburden the story with jargon. Yet Bartusiak presents figures like Edwin Hubble, Heber D. Curtis, Harlow Shapley, and George E. Hale with the skill of a novelist; their personalities transcend the page. This book will appeal to a wide readership, from scientists to those with an interest in science or the history of science.
—Margaret F. Dominy
“Delivered with wit, clarity and occasional drama, Marcia Bartusiak's The Day We Found the Universe is a small wonder….A science writer of rare gifts…Bartusiak manages to convey the mind-bending complexity of the astronomers' task and the scope of the work while never losing sight of the human elements (fame, ego, pioneer spirit, competitive drive) that drive the pursuit."–San Francisco Chronicle
“This tale is not about breakthroughs. It focuses on the dramatic insights, sidesteps and missed opportunities, persistence, pride and bits of luck that accompany the scientific process….Bartusiak's account never gets boring and never feels anticlimactic. Instead, moments of drama and intimacy make the reader forget…the final outcome: the Milky Way is merely one of many stellar collections in a vast universe."–Science News
“[A] fascinating and accessible book.”–Boston Globe
“Bartusiak chronicles the cosmic explorations that helped make [Edwin] Hubble a star. A journalist specializing in science, she knows how to cut to the chase. Her account is informative, dramatic, and accessible….She sings songs to unsung heroes.”–Tulsa World
“With her trademark mix of meticulous research and vibrant prose, Bartusiak weaves these discoveries into a narrative equal to the excitement of that convulsive decade.”–Seed Magazine
“Compelling. . . . Meticulously researched . . . highly readable.”--New Scientist
“Bartusiak, a renowned science writer, has crafted a remarkable story of the events and people leading to our awakening comprehension of the larger universe. [She] presents figures…with the skill of a novelist; their personalities transcend the page. This book will appeal to a wide readership.”–Library Journal
“Bartusiak explores the technical aspects of Hubble’s findings in an accessible way and skillfully profiles the many researchers who helped lay the groundwork for Hubble’s momentous discovery….The author ably rescues these neglected figures from historical obscurity…bringing many of the scientists to vivid life….A dynamic journey through an important period in the history of astronomy.”–Kirkus Reviews
“One of our most thrilling science writers, has captured the excitement of the amazing years at the beginning of the 20th century when we truly discovered our universe. With a great cast of astronomers and physicists—from Lowell to Hale to Hubble to Einstein—this book is a cosmic delight.”
—Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe
“We live in an expanding universe, and our Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies—now-standard facts established in the 1920s and 1930s. Bartusiak gives a vivid impression of what it was like at that time to be an astronomer leading these cosmic explorations. A scholarly and highly readable book.”
—Martin Rees, Great Britain's Astronomer Royal and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at Cambridge University
“Astrophysicists remember the 1920s as the birth of modern cosmology—a time rich with colorful characters and stunning revelations of our place in the universe. Bartusiak brings this explosive period of cosmic discovery to life.”
—Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History
“A brilliant look back into the history of science. This vibrant book opens a door to a far-off time and place, and brings that place to life for us.”
—David H. Levy, president, National Sharing the Sky Foundation
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Preface /January 1, 1925 ix
1 The Little Republic of Science 3
2 A Rather Remarkable Number of Nebulae 13
3 Grander Than the Truth 36
4 Such Is the Progress of Astronomy in the Wild and Wooly West 56
5 My Regards to the Squashes 70
6 It Is Worthy of Notice 90
7 Empire Builder 103
8 The Solar System Is Off Center and Consequently Man Is Too 114
9 He Surely Looks Like the Fourth Dimension! 135
10 Go at Each Other "Hammer and Tongs" 149
11 Adonis 169
12 On the Brink of a Big Discovery-or Maybe a Big Paradox 182
13 Countless Whole Worlds ?Strewn All Over the Sky 199
14 Using the 100-Inch Telescope the Way It Should Be Used 225
15 Your Calculations Are Correct, but Your Physical Insight Is Abominable 239
16 Started Off with a Bang 250
Whatever Happened to ? 262
Posted June 13, 2009
If you have an interest in Astronomy then you will love Marcia Bartusiak's book. She takes a "scenic route" through the history behind our knowledge of the universe. She delves deeper into the ideas and theories and tells the story of many unsung heroes whose dedication and work acted as stepping stones to the giants of astronomy.
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Posted April 10, 2011
If anyone likes astronomy or astrophysics,you MOST read this book.Marcia Baetusiak is an great author and very acurate in this historical account.Sometimes many of the key players dont get their deserved credit or simply are ignored,,but she made sure that no one was left out.Just finnished the book and passed it to my father,,once his done i will read again..Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2011
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