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The Day We Found the Universeby Marcia Bartusiak
Synopses & Reviews
On January 1, 1925, thirty-five-year-old Edwin Hubble announced the observation that ultimately established that our universe was a thousand trillion times larger than previously believed, filled with myriad galaxies like our own. This discovery dramatically reshaped how humans understood their place in the cosmos, and once and for all laid to rest the idea that the Milky Way galaxy was alone in the universe. Six years later, continuing research by Hubble and others forced Albert Einstein to renounce his own cosmic model and finally accept the astonishing fact that the universe was not immobile but instead expanding.
The fascinating story of these interwoven discoveries includes battles of will, clever insights, and wrong turns made by the early investigators in this great twentieth-century pursuit. It is a story of science in the making that shows how these discoveries were not the work of a lone genius but the combined efforts of many talented scientists and researchers toiling away behind the scenes. The intriguing characters include Henrietta Leavitt, who discovered the means to measure the vast dimensions of the cosmos . . . Vesto Slipher, the first and unheralded discoverer of the universe’s expansion . . . Georges Lematre, the Jesuit priest who correctly interpreted Einstein’s theories in relation to the universe . . . Milton Humason, who, with only an eighth-grade education, became a world-renowned expert on galaxy motions . . . and Harlow Shapley, Hubble’s nemesis, whose flawed vision of the universe delayed the discovery of its true nature and startling size for more than a decade.
Here is a watershed moment in the history of astronomy, brought about by the exceptional combination of human curiosity, intelligence, and enterprise, and vividly told by acclaimed science writer Marcia Bartusiak.
Looks at the discovery of the true nature and immense size of the universe, tracing the decades of work done by a select group of scientists to make it possible.
The riveting and mesmerizing story behind a watershed period in human history, the discovery of the startling size and true nature of our universe.
On New Years Day in 1925, a youngEdwin Hubble released his finding that our Universe was far bigger, eventually measured as a thousand trillion times larger than previously believed. Hubble's proclamation sent shock waves through the scientificcommunity. Six years later, in a series of meetings at Mount Wilson Observatory, Hubble and others convinced Albert Einstein that the Universe was not static but in fact expanding. Here Marcia Bartusiak reveals the keyplayers, battles of will, clever insights, incredible technology, ground-breaking research, and wrong turns made by the early investigators of the heavens as they raced to uncover what many consider one of most significantdiscoveries in scientific history.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Marcia Bartusiak is an award-winning author whose previous books include Through a Universe Darkly, Thursday’s Universe, Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony, and Archives of the Universe. Her work has appeared in such publications as National Geographic, Smithsonian, Discover, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. She teaches in the graduate program in science writing at MIT and lives in Sudbury, Massachusetts, with her husband.
Table of Contents
January 1, 1925 — Setting out. The little republic of science ; A rather remarkable number of nebulae ; Grander than the truth ; Such is the progress of astronomy in the wild and wooly West ; My regards to the squashes ; It is worthy of notice — Exploration. Empire building ; The solar system is off center and consequently man is too ; Her surely looks like the fourth dimension! ; Go at each other "hammer and tongs" ; Adonis ; On the brink of a big discovery-- or many a big paradox — Discovery. Countless whole worlds-- strewn all over the sky ; Using the 100-inch telescope the way it should be used ; Your calculations are correct, but your physical insight is abominable ; Started off with a bang — Whatever happened to--
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