Discoverers of the Universe: William and Caroline Herschel

Discoverers of the Universe: William and Caroline Herschel

by Michael Hoskin
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691148333

ISBN-13: 9780691148335

Pub. Date: 01/30/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Discoverers of the Universe tells the gripping story of William Herschel, the brilliant, fiercely ambitious, emotionally complex musician and composer who became court astronomer to Britain's King George III, and of William's sister, Caroline, who assisted him in his observations of the night sky and became an accomplished astronomer in her own right.

Overview

Discoverers of the Universe tells the gripping story of William Herschel, the brilliant, fiercely ambitious, emotionally complex musician and composer who became court astronomer to Britain's King George III, and of William's sister, Caroline, who assisted him in his observations of the night sky and became an accomplished astronomer in her own right. Together, they transformed our view of the universe from the unchanging, mechanical creation of Newton's clockmaker god to the ever-evolving, incredibly dynamic cosmos that it truly is.

William was in his forties when his amateur observations using a homemade telescope led to his discovery of Uranus, and an invitation to King George's court. He coined the term "asteroid," discovered infrared radiation, was the first to realize that our solar system is moving through space, discovered 2,500 nebulae that form the basis of the catalog astronomers use today, and was unrivalled as a telescope builder. Caroline shared William's passion for astronomy, recording his observations during night watches and organizing his papers for publication. She was the first salaried woman astronomer in history, a pioneer who herself discovered nine comets and became a role model for women in the sciences.

Written by the world's premier expert on the Herschels, Discoverers of the Universe traces William and Caroline's many extraordinary contributions to astronomy, shedding new light on their productive but complicated relationship, and setting their scientific achievements in the context of their personal struggles, larger-than-life ambitions, bitter disappointments, and astonishing triumphs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691148335
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/30/2011
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,315,419
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii
Preface ix
The Herschel Family xiii
Prologue August 1772: The Partnership Convenes 1
Chapter 1: 1707-1773: A Musician's Odyssey 6
Chapter 2: 1773-1778: Vocations in Conflict 28
Chapter 3: 1779-1781: An Enthusiasm Shared 44
Chapter 4: 1781-1782: Royal Patronage 57
Chapter 5: 1782-1783: "Astronomer to his Majesty" 69
Chapter 6: 1783-1785: The Construction of the Heavens 82
Chapter 7: 1782-1790: "One of the Greatest Mechanics of his Day" 108
Chapter 8: 1786-1788: "Gold Can Glitter as Well as the Stars" 129
Chapter 9: 1788-1798: "Noble and Worthy Priestess of the New Heavens" 138
Chapter 10: 1788-1810: "The Most Celebrated of All the Astronomers of the Universe" 146
Chapter 11 1792-1822: The Torch is Handed On 158
Chapter 12 1822-1833: John's "Sacred Duty" 186
Chapter 13 1833-1848: "The Completion of My Father's Work" 197
Abbreviations 209
Notes 211
Bibliographic essay 223
Further Reading 225
Index 229

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