First Light: The Search for the Edge of the Universe

First Light: The Search for the Edge of the Universe

by Richard Preston, Richard Preston
     
 

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Seven years before Richard Preston wrote about horrifying viruses in The Hot Zone, he turned his attention to the cosmos. In First Light, he demonstrates his gift for creating an exciting and absorbing narrative around a complex scientific subject--in this case the efforts by astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains of

Overview

Seven years before Richard Preston wrote about horrifying viruses in The Hot Zone, he turned his attention to the cosmos. In First Light, he demonstrates his gift for creating an exciting and absorbing narrative around a complex scientific subject--in this case the efforts by astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains of California to peer to the farthest edges of space through the Hale Telescope, attempting to solve the riddle of the creation of the universe.

Richard Preston's name became a household word with The Hot Zone, which sold nearly 800,000 copies in hardcover, was on The New York Times's bestseller list for 42 weeks, and was the subject of countless magazine and newspaper articles. Preston has become a sought-after commentator on popular science subjects.

For this hardcover reprint of what has been called "the best popular account of astronomy in action," (Kirkus Reviews) he has revised the text and written a new introduction.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Profiles of Palomar Mountain's telescopes and astronomers lend a basic framework to this book about our understanding of the solar system and universe. Preston, a New Yorker contributor, portrays two sets of researchers: one group looking for the ultimate limits of the universe, the other focusing on the minor planets within our solar neighborhood. Whether profiling Caltech gadgeteers hunting quasars or Carolyn Shoemaker racing to discover more comets, Preston makes general readers understand the significant advances in astronomy and appreciate the scientist's joy of endeavor. Humor, vivid imagery, and a keen sense of language add to this book's appeal. (Macmillan Book Clubs alternate.)Laurie Tynan, Montgomery Cty.-Norristown P.L., Pa.
School Library Journal
YA As the title suggests, this is a book on astronomy, but it is also a great deal more than that. Nominally, First Light is about the efforts of a group of astronomers who are attempting to map the edge of the known universe. Because the sheer size of the numbers and concepts involved in astronomy have an almost universal gee-whiz fascination, that subject is interesting reading all by itself. What really makes this book something special, however, are the portraits of the people involved: how they approach their work, how they interact with each other. What is made clear in First Light is that for all their genius, for all their magnificent achievements, these astronomers are just like the rest of us: subject to the same emotions and frustrations, foibles and shortcomings. With no index or bibliography, this is not a book for students who just want to get through their next science report, nor is it intended to be. Karl Penny , Houston Public Lib .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812991857
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/29/1996
Pages:
300
Sales rank:
260,501
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.63(d)

Meet the Author

Richard Preston received The Overseas Press Club of America's 1995 Whitman Bassow Award for "best reporting in any medium on environmental issues" for The Hot Zone. First Light, Preston's first book, won the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. Preston lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife and children.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Hopewell, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
August 5, 1954
Place of Birth:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Education:
B.A., Pomona College, 1976; Ph.D. in English, Princeton University, 1983
Website:
http://richardpreston.net/

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