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Discoverers of the universe : William and Caroline Herschel

by Hoskin, Michael A.

Format: Print Book 2011
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction QB35.H75 2011
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  QB35.H75 2011

Discoverers of the Universe tells the gripping story of William Herschel, the brilliant, fiercely ambitious, emotionally complex musician and composer who became court astronomer to Britain's King George III, and of William's sister, Caroline, who assisted him in his observations of the night sky and became an accomplished astronomer in her own right. Together, they transformed our view of the universe from the unchanging, mechanical creation of Newton's clockmaker god to the ever-evolving, incredibly dynamic cosmos that it truly is.

William was in his forties when his amateur observations using a homemade telescope led to his discovery of Uranus, and an invitation to King George's court. He coined the term "asteroid," discovered infrared radiation, was the first to realize that our solar system is moving through space, discovered 2,500 nebulae that form the basis of the catalog astronomers use today, and was unrivalled as a telescope builder. Caroline shared William's passion for astronomy, recording his observations during night watches and organizing his papers for publication. She was the first salaried woman astronomer in history, a pioneer who herself discovered nine comets and became a role model for women in the sciences.

Written by the world's premier expert on the Herschels, Discoverers of the Universe traces William and Caroline's many extraordinary contributions to astronomy, shedding new light on their productive but complicated relationship, and setting their scientific achievements in the context of their personal struggles, larger-than-life ambitions, bitter disappointments, and astonishing triumphs.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The Herschels, claims Hoskin, were foremost in changing the view of the universe from a static, mechanical creation to that of a living, changing cosmos. Cambridge University fellow Hoskin (The History of Astronomy) presents the early 19th-century German-born siblings who pursued careers in music until William's hobby of astronomy eventually provided both with financial support from the King of England. William became famous as a builder of precision telescopes; Caroline was his faithful assistant. Both made significant discoveries, despite the fact that their names are virtually unknown to the average person today. Using homemade telescopes widely known to be the best available, William discovered Uranus, some of its moons, and moons of Saturn, while Caroline studied nebulae and discovered eight comets. William also discovered the existence of infrared radiation through the use of colored filters. Drawing from William's papers, as well as journals and autobiographies penned by Caroline, Hoskin relates the fascinating story of a man who pursued his passion and left a large legacy to science, and the sister who abandoned a singing career to familial obligations, which in time produced rewards for her as well. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Herschel, William, -- 1738-1822.
Herschel, Caroline Lucretia, -- 1750-1848.
Astronomers -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Publisher Princeton, N.J. :Princeton University Press,2011
Language English
Description xvi, 237 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [211]-228) and index.
ISBN 9780691148335 (cloth : alk. paper)
0691148333 (cloth : alk. paper)
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