Books  Physical Sciences  Cosmology & Astronomy 

The Life of Stars: The Controversial Inception and Emergence of the Theory of Stellar Structure

Delivers fascinating insights into the development of the modern theory of stars
Attractively illustrated with clear diagrams and beautiful colour pictures
Delights the reader with entertaining anecdotes alongside deep philosophical excursions

By: Giora Shaviv (Author)

518 pages, 80 colour & 47 b/w illustrations


Hardback | Nov 2009 | #183689 | ISBN-13: 9783642020872
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £81.99 $100/€92 approx

About this book

This beautifully illustrated book describes the birth and evolution of the theory of stellar structure through the vehement controversy between biology (as presented by Darwin) and physics (as presented by Kelvin) about the age of the Earth, which culminated with Rutherford suggesting radioactive dating. Shaviv analyzes critically many proclaimed scientific results, showing how and why they were wrong, and explains why it took decades to find the now accepted scientific answers – where there are such – and why there remains much more to be done before we can say we fully understand what happens up there in the heavens.

The Life of Stars provides fascinating reading for all those interested in the stars, in the history of astronomy and in what their story tells us about how science progresses. Moreover, it will bring readers up-to-date on current problems in astrophysics.

"The story of stellar structure is interwoven with the development of quantum mechanics and the determination that nuclear fusion reactions produce the energy emitted by stars. The author provides excellent coverage of those two developments. He also effectively notes that stellar theorists often had access, in principle, to information that would have allowed them to take giant leaps toward a solution."
- Robert Deupree, Physics Today, November, 2010

"For historians of science, Shaviv has done a considerable service by searching out many obscure or forgotten papers amongst the important and well-known ones, and he does give references to almost everything. He adds quite extensive footnotes as well."
- Robert Connon Smith, The Observatory, Vol. 131 (1220), February, 2011

"I thoroughly enjoyed this book. [...] it especially enjoyable for me were the tiny snippets or anecdotes which appear quite liberally throughout the book, sometimes in the main text but more usually as a footnote. [...] The author, Giora Shaviv, is a leading theoretical astrophysicist. [...] The writing style is easy and the book is exceedingly well referenced."
- Roger Pickard, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Vol. 120 (5), 2010


- The Controversy About the Age of the Earth - The Time Scale
- What Stellar Classification Tells Us
- The Dawn of a New Era
- Towards a Complete Stellar Structure Theory
- From Chemistry to Dying Stars
- The Solution to the Stellar Energy Problem
- How the Low-Mass Stars Extinguish
- The Life and Death of Massive Stars
- The Sun

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Giora Shaviv started astrophysics in Israel (Tel Aviv University and the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology) after spending several years in Caltech and Cornell in the USA. Shaviv conceived, designed and launched the Technion student and faculty research satellite. Shaviv is a leading theoretical astrophysicists. He has published numerous articles in professional journals on stellar physics, galaxies and astrophysical fluids. He has to his credit many contributions to stellar physics. Recently, the Physical Review Letters selected one of his papers among the best 20 papers published in the past 50 years in this journal. He initiated the Asher Space Research institute at the Technion and also served as President of the Israeli Physical Society.

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