Percival Lowell

George Basalla

in Civilized Life in the Universe

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780195171815
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786862 | DOI:
 Percival Lowell

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American astronomer Percival Lowell adopted Schiaparelli’s canali and used them in his theories about Mars, its irrigation canals, and its advanced civilization. Lowell built an observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and spent the last two decades of his life observing and mapping the Martian landscape, refining his theories about the planet, and writing four popular books on Mars. A firm believer in the existence of Martian canals, Lowell refused to accept the work of distinguished astronomers that contradicted his theories. Lowell’s view of Mars finally found its niche in popular culture, notably science fiction. In part, Lowell’s popularity stemmed from the fact that his conception of Mars resonated with the American experience in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Keywords: canali; irrigation canals; Martian canals; Flagstaff; Mars; observatory

Chapter.  7625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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