Giant Telescopes

Overview

Every night, astronomers use a new generation of giant telescopes at observatories around the world to study phenomena at the forefront of science. By focusing on the history of the Gemini Observatory--twin
8-meter telescopes located on mountain peaks in Hawaii and Chile--Giant Telescopes tells the story behind the planning and construction of modern scientific tools, offering a detailed view of the technological and political transformation of...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $21.30   
  • New (3) from $21.30   
  • Used (4) from $28.79   
Sending request ...

Overview

Every night, astronomers use a new generation of giant telescopes at observatories around the world to study phenomena at the forefront of science. By focusing on the history of the Gemini Observatory--twin
8-meter telescopes located on mountain peaks in Hawaii and Chile--Giant Telescopes tells the story behind the planning and construction of modern scientific tools, offering a detailed view of the technological and political transformation of astronomy in the postwar era.

Drawing on interviews with participants and archival documents, W. Patrick McCray describes the ambitions and machinations of prominent astronomers, engineers, funding patrons, and politicians in their effort to construct a modern facility for cutting-edge science--and to establish a model for international cooperation in the coming era of "megascience." His account details the technological, institutional, cultural, and financial challenges that scientists faced while planning and building a new generation of giant telescopes. Besides exploring how and why scientists embraced the promise and potential of new technologies, he considers how these new tools affected what it means to be an astronomer. McCray's book should interest anyone who desires a deeper understanding of the science, technology, and politics behind finding our place in the universe.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

New Scientist
[An] insightful history of how ground-based telescopes have evolved and flourished over the past 50 years. [McCray's] tale begins with the 200-inch Hale telescope at California's Palomar Mountain, built in 1948, and ends with the twin 8-metre Gemini telescopes on mountains in Chile and Hawaii, completed in 2002.
Times Higher Education Supplement

This tale of the giant eyes on the sky that are revolutionising our knowledge of the universe reveals a fascinating piece of science policy and science history.
— Martin Ince

Sky and Telescope

This is an exceptionally readable history of the 50-years-plus evolution of large ground-based telescopes from the era of 'cowboy' astronomers to the present day. Historian Patrick McCray shows how profound changes in the sociology of astronomy alternately drove or reflected the development of giant telescopes in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
— Stephen P. Maran

The Guardian

In astronomy, phrases such as 'thinking big' don't even begin to cover the situation. Fewer than 100 years ago, this galaxy was all there was but stargazers have pushed the universal population count to about 200bn galaxies so far—each with maybe 200bn stars—and extended the boundaries of the visible universe to about 13 bn light years. So a book about the academic bickering, muddled finance and international finesse behind the instruments that widened human horizons should be welcome. Even better, this heavenly topic has its share of drama and comedy.
— Tim Radford

Technology and Culture

Select illustrations, a helpful table of giant telescopes, notes, and a list of sources complete a well-written, authoritative, and important study.
— Joseph N. Tatarewicz

Robert P. Kirshner
This vivid history of modern telescope building focuses on the turbulence, tension and triumph of building the Gemini 8-meter telescopes. Strong personalities, scientific opportunities, technological advances, and institutional rivalries are sharply etched and skillfully illuminated by McCray's deep reading of the record. As astronomers plunge headfirst into the next round of giant telescope building, this book should be on the required reading list.
Times Higher Education Supplement - Martin Ince
This tale of the giant eyes on the sky that are revolutionising our knowledge of the universe reveals a fascinating piece of science policy and science history.
Sky and Telescope - Stephen P. Maran
This is an exceptionally readable history of the 50-years-plus evolution of large ground-based telescopes from the era of 'cowboy' astronomers to the present day. Historian Patrick McCray shows how profound changes in the sociology of astronomy alternately drove or reflected the development of giant telescopes in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
The Guardian - Tim Radford
In astronomy, phrases such as 'thinking big' don't even begin to cover the situation. Fewer than 100 years ago, this galaxy was all there was but stargazers have pushed the universal population count to about 200bn galaxies so far--each with maybe 200bn stars--and extended the boundaries of the visible universe to about 13 bn light years. So a book about the academic bickering, muddled finance and international finesse behind the instruments that widened human horizons should be welcome. Even better, this heavenly topic has its share of drama and comedy.
Technology and Culture - Joseph N. Tatarewicz
Select illustrations, a helpful table of giant telescopes, notes, and a list of sources complete a well-written, authoritative, and important study.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674019966
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 0.79 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Patrick McCray is an assistant professor in the History Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara. This is his second book.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: Beautiful and Cantankerous Instruments

1. Leo and Jesse's Changing World

2. Tradition and Balance

3. Visions of Grandeur

4. Paper Telescopes

5. Growing Pains

6. Astropolitics

7. Smoke and Mirrors

8. Joining the 8-Meter Club

9. Point-and-Click Astronomy

Conclusion: Telescopes, Postwar Science, and the Next Big Machine

Giant Telescopes

Sources

Abbreviations

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)