the hunt for vulcan and how albert einstein destroyed a planet discovered relativity and deciphered the universe

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The Hunt For Vulcan

Author : Thomas Levenson
ISBN : 9780812988307
Genre :
File Size : 82. 78 MB
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The captivating, all-but-forgotten story of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and the search for a planet that never existed For more than fifty years, the world's top scientists searched for the "missing" planet Vulcan, whose existence was mandated by Isaac Newton's theories of gravity. Countless hours were spent on the hunt for the elusive orb, and some of the era's most skilled astronomers even claimed to have found it. There was just one problem: It was never there. In The Hunt for Vulcan, Thomas Levenson follows the visionary scientists who inhabit the story of the phantom planet, starting with Isaac Newton, who in 1687 provided an explanation for all matter in motion throughout the universe, leading to Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who almost two centuries later built on Newton's theories and discovered Neptune, becoming the most famous scientist in the world. Le Verrier attempted to surpass that triumph by predicting the existence of yet another planet in our solar system, Vulcan. It took Albert Einstein to discern that the mystery of the missing planet was a problem not of measurements or math but of Newton's theory of gravity itself. Einstein's general theory of relativity proved that Vulcan did not and could not exist, and that the search for it had merely been a quirk of operating under the wrong set of assumptions about the universe. Levenson tells the previously untold tale of how the "discovery" of Vulcan in the nineteenth century set the stage for Einstein's monumental breakthrough, the greatest individual intellectual achievement of the twentieth century. A dramatic human story of an epic quest, The Hunt for Vulcan offers insight into how science really advances (as opposed to the way we're taught about it in school) and how the best work of the greatest scientists reveals an artist's sensibility. Opening a new window onto our world, Levenson illuminates some of our most iconic ideas as he recounts one of the strangest episodes in the history of science. Praise for The Hunt for Vulcan "Delightful . . . a charming tale about an all-but-forgotten episode in science history."--The Wall Street Journal "Engaging . . . At heart, this is a story about how science advances, one insight at a time. But the immediacy, almost romance, of Levenson's writing makes it almost novelistic."--The Washington Post "Captures the drama of the tireless search for this celestial object."--Science "A well-structured, fast-paced example of exemplary science writing."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "A short, beautifully produced book that tells a cautionary tale . . . Levenson is a breezy writer who renders complex ideas in down-to-earth language."--The Boston Globe "An inspiring tale about the quest for discovery."--Walter Isaacson "Equal to the best science writing I've read anywhere, by any author. Beautifully composed, rich in historical context, deeply researched, it is, above all, great storytelling."--Alan Lightman, author of The Accidental Universe "Levenson tells us where Vulcan came from, how it vanished, and why its spirit lurks today. Along the way, we learn more than a bit of just how science works--when it succeeds as well as when it fails."--Neil deGrasse Tyson "Science writing at its best. This book is not just learned, passionate, and witty--it is profoundly wise."--Junot Díaz From the Hardcover edition.

In Search Of Planet Vulcan

Author : Richard P Baum
ISBN : 9781489961006
Genre : Science
File Size : 46. 8 MB
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Measure For Measure

Author : Thomas Levenson
ISBN : 9780684804347
Genre : Science
File Size : 69. 12 MB
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In this imaginative investigation of the links between science and art, Levenson explores how we have come to understand and experience the natural world through instruments both scientific and musical. As he traces the development of the organ, the microscope, Stradivarius's miraculous violins and cellos, and computers, Levenson reveals why science itself is an art. 48 b&w line drawings.

The Perfect Theory

Author : Pedro G. Ferreira
ISBN : 9780547554907
Genre : Science
File Size : 60. 61 MB
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“Ferreira masterfully portrays the science and scientists behind general relativity’s star-crossed history and argues that even now we are only just beginning to realize its vitality as a tool for understanding the cosmos.” —Scientific American Einstein’s theory of general relativity is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement of modern physics. For almost a century now, physicists have been delving into Einstein’s theory, seeking an understanding of the history of the universe, the origin of time, and the evolution of solar systems, stars, and galaxies. The expanding universe, the light-speed barrier, black holes, wormholes, time travel—general relativity has allowed scientists’ imaginations to take flight with new possibilities, revealing a universe that is much stranger than anyone ever expected. Just in time for the theory’s hundred-year anniversary, physicist Pedro Ferreira’s The Perfect Theory explains just how staggering an achievement general relativity was while bringing to life the infighting that it sparked in the field of physics over the past century. “A rollicking good read . . . With crisp explanations and narrative flair, Ferreira offers us a fun, fresh take on a magnificent part of modern science.” —Steven Strogatz, author of The Joy of x “One of the best popular accounts of how Einstein and his followers have been trying to explain the universe for decades.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Black Hole

Author : Marcia Bartusiak
ISBN : 9780300213638
Genre : Science
File Size : 48. 40 MB
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"For more than half a century, physicists and astronomers engaged in heated dispute over the possibility of black holes in the universe. The weirdly alien notion of a space-time abyss from which nothing escapes—not even light—seemed to confound all logic. This engrossing book tells the story of the fierce black hole debates and the contributions of Einstein and Hawking and other leading thinkers who completely altered our view of the universe. Renowned science writer Marcia Bartusiak shows how the black hole helped revive Einstein's greatest achievement, the general theory of relativity, after decades during which it had been pushed into the shadows. Not until astronomers discovered such surprising new phenomena as neutron stars and black holes did the once-sedate universe transform into an Einsteinian cosmos, filled with sources of titanic energy that can be understood only in the light of relativity. This book celebrates the hundredth anniversary of general relativity, uncovers how the black hole really got its name, and recounts the scientists' frustrating, exhilarating, and at times humorous battles over the acceptance of one of history's most dazzling ideas. "

Revolutions In Twentieth Century Physics

Author : David J. Griffiths
ISBN : 9781107602175
Genre : Science
File Size : 82. 53 MB
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"The conceptual changes brought by modern physics are important, radical and fascinating, yet they are only vaguely understood by people working outside the field. Exploring the four pillars of modern physics - relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles and cosmology - this clear and lively account will interest anyone who has wondered what Einstein, Bohr, Schrèodinger and Heisenberg were really talking about. The book discusses quarks and leptons, antiparticles and Feynman diagrams, curved space-time, the Big Bang and the expanding Universe. Suitable for undergraduate students in non-science as well as science subjects, it uses problems and worked examples to help readers develop an understanding of what recent advances in physics actually mean"--

Kepler And The Universe

Author : David K. Love
ISBN : 9781633881075
Genre : Science
File Size : 80. 93 MB
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A contemporary of Galileo and a forerunner of Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a pioneering German scientist and a pivotal figure in the history of astronomy. This colorful, well-researched biography brings the man and his scientific discoveries to life, showing how his contributions were every bit as important as those of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton. It was Kepler who first advocated the completely new concept of a physical force emanating from the sun that controls the motion of the planets--today we call this gravity and take it for granted. He also established that the orbits of the planets were elliptical in shape and not circular. And his three laws of planetary motion are still used by contemporary astronomers and space scientists. The author focuses not just on these and other momentous breakthroughs but also on Kepler's arduous life, punctuated by frequent tragedy and hardships. His first wife died young, and eight of the twelve children he fathered succumbed to disease in infancy or childhood. He was frequently caught up in the religious persecutions of the day. His mother narrowly escaped death when she was accused of being a witch. Intermingling historical and personal details of Kepler's life with lucid explanations of his scientific research, this book presents a sympathetic portrait of the man and underscores the critical importance of Kepler's discoveries in the history of astronomy. From the Hardcover edition.

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