Number-one New York Times best-selling author Dava Sobel returns with the captivating, little-known true story of a group of women whose remarkable contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.
In 1714, England's Parliament offered a huge reward to anyone whose method of measuring longitude could be proven successful. The scientific establishment--from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton--had mapped the heavens in its certainty of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution--a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had been able to do on land. And the race was on....
"To hear Neil Armstongs Voice"
Galileo Galilei was the foremost scientist of his day. Though he never left Italy, his inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world. His telescopes allowed him to reveal the heavens and enforce the astounding argument that the earth moves around the sun. For this belief, he was brought before the Holy Office of the Inquisition, accused of heresy, and forced to spend his last years under house arrest.
"Eppur, si muove"
Galileo's oldest child was 13 when he placed her in a convent near him in Florence, where she took the most appropriate name of Suor Maria Celeste. Her support was her father's greatest source of strength. Her presence, through letters which Sobel has translated from Italian and masterfully woven into the narrative, graces her father's life now as it did then. Galileo's Daughter dramatically recolors the personality and accomplishment of a mythic figure whose 17th-century clash with Catholic doctrine continues to define the schism between science and religion.
In her graceful, compelling style, Dava Sobel chronicles the history of the Copernican Revolution, relating the story of astronomy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages. In its midst will be her play, And the Sun Stood Still, imagining the dialogue that would have transpired between Rheticus and Copernicus in their months together. As she achieved with her bestsellers Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Sobel expands the bounds of science writing, giving us an unforgettable portrait of scientific achievement.
"Too much about Copernicus' daily life"
In the mid-19th century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or 'human computers', to interpret the observations their male counterparts made via telescope each night. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the women turned to studying images of the stars captured on glass photographic plates, making extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim.
The sun's family of planets become a familiar place in this personal account of the lives of other worlds. Sobel explores the planets' origins and oddities through the lens of popular culture, from astrology, mythology, and science fiction to art, music, poetry, biography, and history. This intimate account is filled with fascination, beauty, and surprise.
"Superb story of our changing views of the planets"
Dava Sobel's thoughtful play brings to life the story of Nicolaus Copernicus, the Renaissance astronomer and mathematician who proposed the heliocentric model of the universe in which the sun stands at the center. Plagued by self-doubt and threatened by religious censure, Copernicus resisted the publication of his work until just before his death in 1543.