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The Last Stargazers: Book summary and reviews of The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque

The Last Stargazers

The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers

by Emily Levesque

The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque X
The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque
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Book Summary

The story of the people who see beyond the stars.

Humans from the earliest civilizations were spellbound by the night sky-craning their necks each night, they used the stars to orient themselves in the large, strange world around them. Stargazing is a pursuit that continues to fascinate us: from Copernicus to Carl Sagan, astronomers throughout history have spent their lives trying to answer the biggest questions in the universe. Now, award-winning astronomer Emily Levesque shares the stories of modern-day stargazers, the people willing to adventure across high mountaintops and to some of the most remote corners of the planet, all in the name of science.

From the lonely quiet of midnight stargazing to tall tales of wild bears loose in the observatory, The Last Stargazers is a love letter to astronomy and an affirmation of the crucial role that humans can and must play in the future of scientific discovery.

In this sweeping work of narrative science, Levesque shows how astronomers in this scrappy and evolving field are going beyond the machines to infuse creativity and passion into the stars and inspires us all to peer skyward in pursuit of the universe's secrets.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[W]onderful...This will particularly appeal to young women interested in science, but any stargazer would enjoy this joyous adventure through modern astronomy." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An astronomy professor captures the human stories—from the quirky to the luminous—of her discipline...Entertaining, ardent tales from an era of stargazing that may not last much longer." - Kirkus Reviews

"Levesque does a wonderful job explaining the science behind astronomy as she conveys the awe and beauty of the universe, the dedication of the people who study it, and the excitement of discovery in this fascinating account that will appeal to fans of narrative nonfiction and fellow stargazers." - Library Journal

"Astronomy is dangerous. Wild (sometimes venomous) animals, thin air, heavy equipment, hazardous chemicals....Levesque captures all this with amusement and personal experience, making this a delightful read for everyone." - Phil Plait, astronomer and author of Bad Astronomy

"Emily's book is a compulsive read. It demonstrates what being an observational astronomer is really like - the highs, the lows and the unscheduled things that can happen at telescopes around the world! Give this book to every young person (especially the girls!) that you know who likes math and science." - Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Astrophysicist, Oxford

"Emily Levesque is smart and funny, and her insider's tale of stars and the astronomers who study them bursts with color and energy." - Edward Dolnick, author of The Clockwork Universe

"Through captivating stories, Levesque gives us both a vivid and accessible inside look at the enigmatic mountain-top astronomers. A unique and engaging read." - Sara Seager, professor of astronomy at MIT

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Author Information

Emily Levesque

Emily Levesque is an astronomy professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her first popular science book, The Last Stargazers, comes out in August of 2020.

Emily's research studies how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die. She has observed for upward of fifty nights on many of the planet's largest telescopes and flown over the Antarctic stratosphere in an experimental aircraft for her research. Her academic accolades include the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon Prize, a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, a 2019 Cottrell Scholar award, and the 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize. She earned a bachelor's degree in physics from MIT and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawaii.

When she occasionally stumbles across some spare time, she attempts to spend it traveling, playing violin, skiing, messing with new recipes, or finishing triathlons very slowly. These plans are often waylaid by an old couch and a new book.

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