Chasing Venus The Race to Measure the Heavens

ISBN-10: 0307744604

ISBN-13: 9780307744609

Edition: N/A

Authors: Andrea Wulf
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Description: The author of the highly acclaimedFounding Gardenersnow gives us an enlightening chronicle of the first truly international scientific endeavor—the eighteenth-century quest to observe the transit of Venus and measure the solar system.   On June 6, 1761, the world paused to observe a momentous occasion: the first transit of Venus between the earth and the sun in more than a century. Through that observation, astronomers could calculate the size of the solar system—but only if they could compile data from many different points of the globe, all recorded during the short period of the transit. Overcoming incredible odds and political strife, astronomers from Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Sweden, and the American colonies set up observatories in remote corners of the world, only to have their efforts thwarted by unpredictable weather and warring armies. Fortunately, transits of Venus occur in pairs: eight years later, the scientists would have another opportunity to succeed.   Chasing Venusbrings to life the personalities of the eighteenth-century astronomers who embarked upon this complex and essential scientific venture, painting a vivid portrait of the collaborations, the rivalries, and the volatile international politics that hindered them at every turn. In the end, what they accomplished would change our conception of the universe and would forever alter the nature of scientific research.

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Book details

List price: $19.00
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/26/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

Andrea Wulf trained as a design historian at the Royal College of Art and is the co-author (with Emma Gieben-Gamal) of This Other Eden and The Brother Gardeners, which was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Award. She has written for The Sunday Times, the Financial Times, The Garden, The Architects� Journal, and regularly reviews for several newspapers, including the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement.

Author's Note
Dramatis Personae
Prologue: The Gauntlet
Transit
Call to Action
The French Are First
Britain Enters the Race
To Siberia
Getting Ready for Venus
Day of Transit, 6 June 1761
How Far to the Sun?
Transit
A Second Chance
Russia Enters the Race
The Most Daring Voyage of All
Scandinavia or the Land of the Midnight Sun
The North American Continent
Racing to the Four Corners of the Globe
Day of Transit, 3 June 1769
After the Transit
Epilogue: A New Dawn
List of Observers 1761
List of Observers 1769
Selected Bibliography, Sources and Abbreviations
Suggested Further Reading
Picture Credits
Acknowledgements
Notes
Index
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