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 : 9780812988291
Genre : Science
File Size : 27. 90 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.

The Hunt For Vulcan

Author : Thomas Levenson
ISBN : 9780812988307
Genre :
File Size : 81. 79 MB
Format : PDF, Kindle
Download : 552
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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.

The Hunt For Vulcan

Author : Thomas Levenson
ISBN : 1784973971
Genre : Astronomy
File Size : 39. 85 MB
Format : PDF, Mobi
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In 1859, the brilliant scientist Urbain LeVerrier discovered that the planet Mercury has a wobble, that its orbit shifts over time. His explanation was that there had to be an unseen planet circling even closer to the sun. He called the planet Vulcan. Supported by the theories of Sir Isaac Newton, the finest astronomers of their generation began to seek out Vulcan and at least a dozen reports of discovery were filed. There was only one problem. Vulcan does not exist - and was never there. The real explanation was only revealed when a young Albert Einstein came up with a theory of gravity that also happened to prove that Mercury's orbit could indeed be explained - not by Newton's theories but by Einstein's own theory of general relativity. THE HUNT FOR VULCAN is a scientific detective tale at the intersection of theory, measurement, and belief; and a reflection on a bizarre period in which the power of conformity led very smart people to literally see a planet that wasn't there.

Black Hole

Author : Marcia Bartusiak
ISBN : 9780300213638
Genre : Science
File Size : 23. 27 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. "

Measure For Measure

Author : Thomas Levenson
ISBN : 9780684804347
Genre : Science
File Size : 86. 81 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 : 29. 31 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

Searching For The Oldest Stars

Author : Anna Frebel
ISBN : 9781400874286
Genre : Science
File Size : 42. 36 MB
Format : PDF, ePub
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Astronomers study the oldest observable stars in the universe in much the same way that archaeologists study ancient artifacts on Earth. Here, Anna Frebel—who is credited with discovering several of the oldest and most primitive stars using the world's largest telescopes—takes readers into the far-flung depths of space and time to provide a gripping firsthand account of the cutting-edge science of stellar archaeology. Weaving the latest findings in astronomy with her own compelling insights as one of the world’s leading researchers in the field, Frebel explains how sections of the night sky are "excavated" in the hunt for these extremely rare relic stars—some of which have been shining for more than 13 billion years—and how this astonishing quest is revealing tantalizing new details about the earliest times in the universe. She vividly describes how the very first stars formed soon after the big bang and then exploded as supernovae, leaving behind chemical fingerprints that were incorporated into the ancient stars we can still observe today. She shows how these fingerprints provide clues to the cosmic origin of the elements, early star and galaxy formation, and the assembly process of the Milky Way. Along the way, Frebel recounts her own stories of discovery, offering an insider’s perspective on this exciting frontier of science. Lively and accessible, this book sheds vital new light on the origins and evolution of the cosmos while providing a unique look into life as an astronomer.

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