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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
“Compelling. . . . Meticulously researched . . . highly readable.” —New Scientist
“Bartusiak chronicles the cosmic explorations that helped make [Edwin] Hubble a star. . . . Her account is informative, dramatic, and accessible....She sings songs to unsung heroes.”—Tulsa World
“Bartusiak lovingly and meticulously traces the origins and development of a big idea....Her enjoyable book is an exhaustively researched exploration of both major and minor players.” —New Haven Review
“Focuses on the dramatic insights, sidesteps and missed opportunities, persistence, pride and bits of luck that accompany the scientific process.” —Science News
“Peopled with a fascinating cast of characters . . . . The Day We Found the Universe is a scientific thriller that brings to life the many scientists who laid the foundation for Hubble's groundbreaking accomplishments. . . . A great read, for anyone who enjoys a compelling yarn.” —Montreal Gazette
Excerpted from The Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak Copyright © 2009 by Marcia Bartusiak. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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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