The Cosmic Inquirers: Modern Telescopes and Their Makers

The Cosmic Inquirers: Modern Telescopes and Their Makers

by Wallace Tucker, Karen Tucker


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The Cosmic Inquirers gives a remarkable inside view of the people who helped to forge some of the most sensitive tools of modern science, the astronomical observatories. Based on interviews with pioneers in several fields of astronomy, this book recounts the efforts of scientists to promote, design, and build these magnificent instruments despite political and technical obstacles. The astronomers in these pages tell us, in their own words, about their struggles with Congress, NASA, and colleagues to obtain support and funding. They speak candidly about the demands that Big Science places on its practitioners and about their personal ambitions and frustrations, the problems with their profession, and the direction of future research.The Tuckers interweave into the fabric of their human story the scientific challenges posed by these observatories, most of which orbit about the earth's obscuring atmosphere. These telescopes have probed the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays to gamma radiation, and have yielded a new understanding of phenomena as diverse as quasars, black holes, pulsars, and starburst galaxies. This book invites us to view these telescopes not merely as technological wonders but as the life's labor and achievement of outstanding individuals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674434134
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

About the Author

Wallace Tucker is science spokesman for the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. He has coauthored, with his wife, numerous books on astronomy.

Karen Tucker is science writer for the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. She has coauthored, with her husband, numerous books on astronomy.

Table of Contents

1The Mushrooms of San Augustin: The Very Large Array5
2A High-Energy Astrophysicist and the Einstein X-ray Observatory43
3Lines and Spaces: Gamma Ray Astronomy97
4Dewars and Thinkers: The Infrared Astronomical Satellite125
5Where the Stars Don't Twinkle: The Space Telescope171

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