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The Perfect Machine: Building the Palomar Telescope
     

The Perfect Machine: Building the Palomar Telescope

by Ronald Florence
 

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Almost a half-century after is completion, the 200-inch Palomar telescope remains an unparalleled combination of vast scale and microscope detail. As huge as the Pantheon of Rome and as heavy as the Statue of Liberty, this magnificent instrument is so precisely built that its seventeen-foot mirror was hand-polished to a tolerance of 2/1,000,000 of an inch. The

Overview

Almost a half-century after is completion, the 200-inch Palomar telescope remains an unparalleled combination of vast scale and microscope detail. As huge as the Pantheon of Rome and as heavy as the Statue of Liberty, this magnificent instrument is so precisely built that its seventeen-foot mirror was hand-polished to a tolerance of 2/1,000,000 of an inch. The telescope's construction drove some to the brink of madness, made others fearful that mortals might glimpse heaven, and transfixed an entire nation. Ronald Florence weaves into his account of the creation of "the perfect machine" a stirring chronicle of the birth of Big Science and a poignant rendering of an America mired in the depression yet reaching for the stars.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
On the conception, design, finance, construction, and operation of what was for decades the largest reflecting telescope. A lively story engagingly told. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060926700
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/04/1995
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
1,059,752
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.08(d)

What People are Saying About This

Arthur C. Clarke
"Over to you, Pulitzer Prize Committee."
Allan Sandage
"A superb history by a super writer and historian."

Meet the Author

Ronald Florence was educated at Berkeley and Harvard. The author of five previous books, he lives with his wife and son on the Connecticut shore, where they raise Cotswold sheep.

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