The telescope is undoubtedly one of the world's most
far-reaching inventions. For the past four centuries the telescope has stood at
the forefront of human discovery. From its humble beginnings in
seventeenth-century Holland, when a simple spectacle-maker first presented his
invention to his country's military leaders, to today's colossal structures
housed in space-age cathedrals, the telescope has unlocked nature's secrets. And
in the past decade, the Hubble Space Telescope has brought us to the very edges
of the universe, and the very beginning of time. How did the telescopea potent
mix of art, science, and engineeringreach its present level of sophistication?
The history of the telescope is a rich story of human ingenuity and perseverance
involving some of the most colorful figures of the scientific worldGalileo,
Johann Kepler, Isaac Newton, William Herschel, George Ellery Hale, and Edwin
Hubble. Stargazer brings to life the story of these brilliant, and sometime
quirky, scientists as they turned their eyes and ideas beyond what anyone
thought possible. Professor Fred Watson, one of Australia's top astronomers,
writes clearly and skillfully, without technical jargon but with a dash of
humor, explaining the science and technology behind the telescope, and the
enormous impact that it has had for four hundred years on how we have come to
understand our universe.
If you're passionate about astronomy and things scientific this is obviously a book not to miss; however, even if you're not particularly interested in science you'll likely enjoy browsing this expansive excerpt which will take you on a whistle-stop tour of modern astronomers and their very big toys, (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Watson relates intriguing stories while providing them with a rich cultural context. While still interesting, the work is less compelling when Watson provides specifics about the physics and optics of telescopes. And with so much ground to cover, he rarely delves deeply and provides little if any new information. Yet gathering all of this material in one place and presenting it in such an engaging style is a considerable accomplishment.
Library Journal - Sara Rutter
Watson describes in readable, engaging prose the technical obstacles to improving our knowledge of the universe and the stories of the people who moved-and continue to move-the technology forward.... this book will appeal to many, including students of the history of astronomy and amateur astronomers.
A fine piece of science writing, from an author as intelligibly capable as Brian Greene or Richard Dawkins.
Often funny, occasionally poignant, and definitely accessible.
Watson is Astronomer-in-Charge
of the Anglo-Australian
Observatory at Coonabarabran in
central New South Wales, where
he is responsible for the
scientific output of Australia's
largest optical telescope. His
articles have appeared in many
well-known journals, including
New Scientist, Sky & Telescope
and Astronomy Now. He is a
frequent broadcaster, and has a
monthly phone in show on
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