Cover: Giant Telescopes: Astronomical Ambition and the Promise of Technology, from Harvard University PressCover: Giant Telescopes in PAPERBACK

Giant Telescopes

Astronomical Ambition and the Promise of Technology

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Product Details

PAPERBACK

$30.50 • £24.95 • €27.50

ISBN 9780674019966

Publication Date: 04/30/2006

Academic Trade

376 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

10 halftones, 4 line illustrations, 1 table

World

In astronomy, phrases such as ‘thinking big’ don’t even begin to cover the situation. Fewer than 100 years ago, this galaxy was all there was but stargazers have pushed the universal population count to about 200bn galaxies so far—each with maybe 200bn stars—and extended the boundaries of the visible universe to about 13 bn light years. So a book about the academic bickering, muddled finance and international finesse behind the instruments that widened human horizons should be welcome. Even better, this heavenly topic has its share of drama and comedy.—Tim Radford, The Guardian

This tale of the giant eyes on the sky that are revolutionising our knowledge of the universe reveals a fascinating piece of science policy and science history.—Martin Ince, The Times Higher Education Supplement

[An] insightful history of how ground-based telescopes have evolved and flourished over the past 50 years. [McCray’s] tale begins with the 200-inch Hale telescope at California’s Palomar Mountain, built in 1948, and ends with the twin 8-metre Gemini telescopes on mountains in Chile and Hawaii, completed in 2002.New Scientist

This is an exceptionally readable history of the 50-years-plus evolution of large ground-based telescopes from the era of ‘cowboy’ astronomers to the present day. Historian Patrick McCray shows how profound changes in the sociology of astronomy alternately drove or reflected the development of giant telescopes in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.—Stephen P. Maran, Sky and Telescope

Select illustrations, a helpful table of giant telescopes, notes, and a list of sources complete a well-written, authoritative, and important study.—Joseph N. Tatarewicz, Technology and Culture

This vivid history of modern telescope building focuses on the turbulence, tension and triumph of building the Gemini 8-meter telescopes. Strong personalities, scientific opportunities, technological advances, and institutional rivalries are sharply etched and skillfully illuminated by McCray’s deep reading of the record. As astronomers plunge headfirst into the next round of giant telescope building, this book should be on the required reading list.—Robert P. Kirshner, author of The Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos

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