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 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. 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.
1. Introduction: Talent and Opportunity; 2. Galileo: Seeing and Believing; 3. Isaac Newton: Rationalising the Universe; 4. William Herschel: Surveying the Heavens; 5. William Huggins: Celestial Chemical Analysis; 6. George Ellery Hale: Providing the Tools; 7. Arthur Eddington: Inside the Stars; 8. Harlow Shapley: Defining Our Galaxy; 9. Edwin Hubble: Journeying to the Edge
Glass has written an absorbing book, which I strongly recommend. Nature An excellent read. This book contains eight short biographies of astro-physicists from Galileo to Hubble, not only telling of their academic achievements but bring them to life with their personal stories. The extraordinary ability and drive of the eight astronomers comes over in this book as does their hard work and dedication. Recommended for anyone with an interest in the history of science this book manages to be both informative and entertaining. A. Brown, Brighton, UK, 2006 I am convinced that this book has the potential of popular appeal, not only to the professional and amateur astronomical community and to historians of science, but to the general reader. mnassa Vol 65