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Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

Ian Glass

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199550258
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191718700 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550258.001.0001
Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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Galileo, Newton, Herschel, Huggins, Hale, Eddington, Shapley, and Hubble: these astronomers applied ideas drawn from physics to astronomy and made dramatic changes to the world-pictures that they inherited. They showed that celestial objects are composed of the same materials as the earth and that they behave in the same way. They displaced successively the earth, the sun, and finally the Milky Way galaxy from being the centre of the universe. This book, suitable for scientists from a broad range of disciplines as well as laypeople, contains their biographies and outlines their greatest discoveries. Hard work, physical insight, desire for fame and a strong belief in the rightness of their own ideas were characteristics of all eight. It is also the first serious treatment of William Huggins. Their often quirky personalities led them into bitter controversies with their contemporaries. But their successes arose from the outstanding clarity of their thoughts, their practical ability and their strong sense of direction in science.

Keywords: Galileo; Newton; Herschel; Huggins; Hale; Eddington; Shapley; Hubble; personalities; astronomy

Book.  336 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: TALENT AND OPPORTUNITY in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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GALILEO: SEEING AND BELIEVING in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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ISAAC NEWTON: RATIONALISING THE UNIVERSE in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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WILLIAM HERSCHEL: SURVEYING THE HEAVENS in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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WILLIAM HUGGINS: CELESTIAL CHEMICAL ANALYSIS in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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GEORGE ELLERY HALE: PROVIDING THE TOOLS in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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ARTHUR EDDINGTON: INSIDE THE STARS in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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HARLOW SHAPLEY: DEFINING OUR GALAXY in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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EDWIN HUBBLE: JOURNEYING TO THE EDGE in Revolutionaries of the Cosmos

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