This is the first English language presentation of this historical material. It is attractively written and it features the story of the community of scientists who created the Paris Meridian. They knew each other well – some were members of the same families, in one case of four generations. Like scientists everywhere they collaborated and formed alliances; they also split into warring factions and squabbled. They travelled to foreign countries, somehow transcending the national and political disputes, as scientists do now, their eyes fixed on ideas of accuracy, truth and objective, all enduring values – yet when the reception given to their own work was concerned some became blind to high ideals and descended into petty politics.
To establish the Paris Meridian, the scientists endured hardship, survived danger, and gloried in amazing adventures during a time of turmoil in Europe consisting of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic War between France and Spain. Some were accused of witchcraft. Some of their associates lost their heads on the guillotine. Some died of disease. Some won honor and fame. One became the Head of State in France. Some found dangerous love in foreign countries. One scientist was killed in self defence when attacked by a jealous lover, another was himself killed by a jealous lover, a third brought back a woman to France and then jilted her, whereupon she joined a convent...
The scientists worked on practical problems of interest to the government and to the people. They also worked on one of the most important intellectual problems of the time, a problem of great interest to their fellow scientists all over the world- the theory of universal gravitation. They succeeded in their intellectual work while affecting politics and the affairs of state; their endeavours have left marks on the landscape, in art, and in literature still visible today.
It will also contain binocular descriptions of some objects.
Messier published the final version of his catalog in 1781 (it contains 103 different objects), a catalog so good that it is still in common use today, well over two centuries later. In making a catalog of all the 'fixed' deep-sky objects that observers might confuse with comets, Messier had succeeded in listing all the major interesting deep-sky objects that today are targets for amateur astronomers.
Messier's telescope (thought to be a 4-inch) was, by today's amateur standards, small. It also had rather poor optics by modern standards. Thus - and despite the fact that he was a master observer - all the things Messier saw can be found and observed by any observer using a commercial 127 mm (5-inch) telescope. Observing the Messier Objects with a Small Telescope lets the reader follow in Messier's footsteps by observing the Messier objects more or less as the great man saw them himself!
Alfie is back. And so are George and other characters from the author’s previous book Einstein’s Enigma or Black Holes in My Bubble Bath. While the present book, Universe Unveiled - The Cosmos in My Bubble Bath, is completely independent, its storyline can be considered a sequel to the previous one. The scientific content spanning ancient world models to the most recent mysteries of cosmology is presented in an entirely nontechnical and descriptive style through the discussions between Alfie, the enlightened learner, and George, professor of astrophysics. Fantasies, based on these discussions that cover the scientific facts, are created by the magical bubble baths taken by Alfie.
Universe Unveiled blends accurate science with philosophy, drama, humour, and fantasy to create an exciting cosmic journey that reads like a novel and educates as it entertains.
“Spurred by a series of mind-bending discoveries, Man’s millennial love affair with the stars has now reached fever pitch. No one writing today is better positioned to evoke the romance and beauty of these cosmic discoveries than Vishveshwara. A leading expert in Einstein’s relativity theory, he brings a lyrical voice and a poetic sensibility to this joyful task. Universe Unveiled, a unique literary creation, transports readers into believing they can actually hear the music of the spheres.”
Professor Robert Fuller, Former President, Oberlin College (USA)
Author of Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank
While at the start of the twentieth century the universe was thought of as a finite cosmos dominated by the Milky Way, the study of Andromeda galaxy shattered that image, leading ultimately to the conception of an infinite universe of countless galaxies and vast distances. Even today, M31 is a major focal point for new astronomical discoveries, and it also remains one of the most popular (and rewarding) celestial objects for amateur astronomers to observe and study. This book reveals the little-known history of M31 and the scientists who study it.
For all who are interested in astronomy, the skies, and perhaps even the origins of the universe, The Andromeda Galaxy and the Rise of Modern Astronomy provides a first-of-its-kind accessible, informative, and highly readable account of how the study and observation of this celestial object has driven the development of astronomy from ancient times to the present.
Free from a need to conform to scientific naming conventions, the names evidence hero-worship, sycophancy, avarice, vanity, whimsy, erudition and wit, revealing the human side of astronomers, especially where controversy has followed the christening. Murdin draws from extensive historical records to explore the debate over these names. Each age reveals its own biases and preferences in the naming process.
Originally regarded as “vermin of the skies,” asteroids are minor planets, rocky scraps left over from the formation of the larger planets, or broken fragments of worlds that have collided. Their scientific classification as “minor” planets makes them seem unimportant, but over the past decades asteroids have been acknowledged to be key players in the Solar System. This view of their starring role even alters the trajectories of spacecraft: NASA’s policy for new space missions en route to the outer planets is that they must divert to study passing asteroids whenever possible. This book provides for readers a complete tour of the fascinating world of asteroids.
Contributions to this 32-chapter anthology deal with the science, history, methodology and pedagogy of pendulum motion. There is ample material for the richer and more cross-disciplinary treatment of the pendulum from elementary school to high school, and through to advanced university classes.
Scientists will value the studies on the physics of the pendulum; historians will appreciate the detailed treatment of Galileo, Huygens, Newton and Foucault’s pendulum investigations; psychologists and educators will learn from the papers on Piaget; teachers will welcome the many contributions to pendulum pedagogy.
All readers will come away with a new awareness of the importance of the pendulum in the foundation and development of modern science; and for its centrality in so many facets of society and culture.
There is no more fascinating question than whether or not we are alone in a vast universe. Here, Paul Murdin applies the latest scientific discoveries and theories to inquire whether life exists on other planets and, if so, what forms it might take. Could there be somewhere life as advanced as here on Earth, or are we more likely to find primitive life-forms? Or are we the sole living organisms in a desolate and boundless cosmos?
Professor Murdin invites us to join him in exploring an extraordinary array of evidence to determine if there is life elsewhere in the cosmos. He examines the case for life on Mars and Europa and asks whether on Enceladus or Titan we might find the “warm little” pond that Darwin speculated was where life began here on Earth. Describing the cosmic habitats that produce the alien worlds of our solar system and others, he examines the chances of finding life and the prospects for successful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence.