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 : Science
File Size : 70. 30 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 "A well-structured, fast-paced example of exemplary science writing."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Einstein In Berlin

Author : Thomas Levenson
ISBN : 9780525508953
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 52. 17 MB
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In a book that is both biography and the most exciting form of history, here are eighteen years in the life of a man, Albert Einstein, and a city, Berlin, that were in many ways the defining years of the twentieth century. Einstein in Berlin In the spring of 1913 two of the giants of modern science traveled to Zurich. Their mission: to offer the most prestigious position in the very center of European scientific life to a man who had just six years before been a mere patent clerk. Albert Einstein accepted, arriving in Berlin in March 1914 to take up his new post. In December 1932 he left Berlin forever. “Take a good look,” he said to his wife as they walked away from their house. “You will never see it again.” In between, Einstein’s Berlin years capture in microcosm the odyssey of the twentieth century. It is a century that opens with extravagant hopes--and climaxes in unparalleled calamity. These are tumultuous times, seen through the life of one man who is at once witness to and architect of his day--and ours. He is present at the events that will shape the journey from the commencement of the Great War to the rumblings of the next one. We begin with the eminent scientist, already widely recognized for his special theory of relativity. His personal life is in turmoil, with his marriage collapsing, an affair under way. Within two years of his arrival in Berlin he makes one of the landmark discoveries of all time: a new theory of gravity--and before long is transformed into the first international pop star of science. He flourishes during a war he hates, and serves as an instrument of reconciliation in the early months of the peace; he becomes first a symbol of the hope of reason, then a focus for the rage and madness of the right. And throughout these years Berlin is an equal character, with its astonishing eruption of revolutionary pathways in art and architecture, in music, theater, and literature. Its wild street life and sexual excesses are notorious. But with the debacle of the depression and Hitler’s growing power, Berlin will be transformed, until by the end of 1932 it is no longer a safe home for Einstein. Once a hero, now vilified not only as the perpetrator of “Jewish physics” but as the preeminent symbol of all that the Nazis loathe, he knows it is time to leave.

Measure For Measure

Author : Thomas Levenson
ISBN : 9780684804347
Genre : Science
File Size : 34. 39 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.

Newton And The Counterfeiter

Author : Thomas Levenson
ISBN : 9780571265756
Genre : History
File Size : 76. 32 MB
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Already famous throughout Europe for his theories of planetary motion and gravity, Isaac Newton decided to take on the job of running the Royal Mint. And there, Newton became drawn into a battle with William Chaloner, the most skilful of counterfeiters, a man who not only got away with faking His Majesty's coins (a crime that the law equated with treason), but was trying to take over the Mint itself. But Chaloner had no idea who he was taking on. Newton pursued his enemy with the cold, implacable logic that he brought to his scientific research. Set against the backdrop of early eighteenth-century London with its sewers running down the middle of the streets, its fetid rivers, its packed houses, smoke and fog, its industries and its great port, this dark tale of obsession and revenge transforms our image of Britain's greatest scientist.

In Search Of Planet Vulcan

Author : Richard P Baum
ISBN : 9781489961006
Genre : Science
File Size : 72. 72 MB
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A Short Bright Flash Augustin Fresnel And The Birth Of The Modern Lighthouse

Author : Theresa Levitt
ISBN : 9780393068795
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 56. 85 MB
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Describes the life of the man who invented a new lighthouse lens, capable of shining brighter, farther and more efficiently than existing light sources, and his fight against the scientific elite, his poor health and the limits of his era's technology. 13,000 first printing.

Trespassing On Einstein S Lawn

Author : Amanda Gefter
ISBN : 9780345539632
Genre : Science
File Size : 89. 30 MB
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS In a memoir of family bonding and cutting-edge physics for readers of Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality and Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?, Amanda Gefter tells the story of how she conned her way into a career as a science journalist—and wound up hanging out, talking shop, and butting heads with the world’s most brilliant minds. At a Chinese restaurant outside of Philadelphia, a father asks his fifteen-year-old daughter a deceptively simple question: “How would you define nothing?” With that, the girl who once tried to fail geometry as a conscientious objector starts reading up on general relativity and quantum mechanics, as she and her dad embark on a life-altering quest for the answers to the universe’s greatest mysteries. Before Amanda Gefter became an accomplished science writer, she was a twenty-one-year-old magazine assistant willing to sneak her and her father, Warren, into a conference devoted to their physics hero, John Wheeler. Posing as journalists, Amanda and Warren met Wheeler, who offered them cryptic clues to the nature of reality: The universe is a self-excited circuit, he said. And, The boundary of a boundary is zero. Baffled, Amanda and Warren vowed to decode the phrases—and with them, the enigmas of existence. When we solve all that, they agreed, we’ll write a book. Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn is that book, a memoir of the impassioned hunt that takes Amanda and her father from New York to London to Los Alamos. Along the way, they bump up against quirky science and even quirkier personalities, including Leonard Susskind, the former Bronx plumber who invented string theory; Ed Witten, the soft-spoken genius who coined the enigmatic M-theory; even Stephen Hawking. What they discover is extraordinary: the beginnings of a monumental paradigm shift in cosmology, from a single universe we all share to a splintered reality in which each observer has her own. Reality, the Gefters learn, is radically observer-dependent, far beyond anything of which Einstein or the founders of quantum mechanics ever dreamed—with shattering consequences for our understanding of the universe’s origin. And somehow it all ties back to that conversation, to that Chinese restaurant, and to the true meaning of nothing. Throughout their journey, Amanda struggles to make sense of her own life—as her journalism career transforms from illusion to reality, as she searches for her voice as a writer, as she steps from a universe shared with her father to at last carve out one of her own. It’s a paradigm shift you might call growing up. By turns hilarious, moving, irreverent, and profound, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn weaves together story and science in remarkable ways. By the end, you will never look at the universe the same way again. Praise for Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn “Nothing quite prepared me for this book. Wow. Reading it, I alternated between depression—how could the rest of us science writers ever match this?—and exhilaration.”—Scientific American “To Do: Read Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn. Reality doesn’t have to bite.”—New York “A zany superposition of genres . . . It’s at once a coming-of-age chronicle and a father-daughter road trip to the far reaches of this universe and 10,500 others.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer From the Hardcover edition.

The Planets Within

Author : Thomas Moore
ISBN : 0940262282
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
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The Planets Within asks us to return to antiquity with new eyes. It centers on one of the most psychological movements of the prescientific age Renaissance Italy, where a group of inner Columbuses charted territories that still give us today a much- needed sense of who we are and where we have come from, and the right routes to take toward fertile and unexplored places. Chief among these masters of the interior life was Marsilio Ficino, presiding genius of the Florentine Academy, who taught that all things exist in soul and must be lived in its light. This study of Ficino broadens and deepens our understanding of psyche, for Ficino was a doctor of soul, and his insights teach us the care and nurture of soul. Moore takes as his guide Ficino s own fundamental tool imagination. Respecting the integrity and autonomy of images, The Planets Within unfolds a poetics of soul in a kind of dialogue between the laconic remarks of Ficino and the need to give these remarks a life and context for our day."

Black Hole

Author : Marcia Bartusiak
ISBN : 9780300213638
Genre : Science
File Size : 34. 9 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. "

Brilliant

Author : Jane Brox
ISBN : 9780547487151
Genre : History
File Size : 80. 65 MB
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Brilliant, reminiscent of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift in its reach and of Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time in its haunting evocation of human lives, offers a sweeping view of a surprisingly revealing aspect of human history—from the stone lamps of the Pleistocene to the LEDs embedded in fabrics of the future. Brox plumbs the class implications of light—who had it, who didn’t—through the many centuries when crude lamps and tallow candles constricted waking hours. She convincingly portrays the hell-bent pursuit of whale oil as the first time the human desire for light thrust us toward an environmental tipping point. Only decades later, gas street lights opened up the evening hours to leisure, which changed the ways we live and sleep and the world’s ecosystems. Edison’s “tiny strip of paper that a breath would blow away” produced a light that seemed to its users all but divorced from human effort or cost. And yet, as Brox’s informative and hair-raising portrait of our current grid system shows, the cost is ever with us. Brilliant is infused with human voices, startling insights, and—only a few years before it becomes illegal to sell most incandescent light bulbs in the United States—timely questions about how our future lives will be shaped by light.

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