Cover: A Source Book in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1900–1975, from Harvard University PressCover: A Source Book in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1900–1975 in E-DITION

A Source Book in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 1900–1975

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674366688

Publication Date: 12/27/1979

922 pages

42 halftones, 79 figures, 100 tables

Source Books in the History of the Sciences


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When at the beginning of this century, new instrumentation in astronomy came together with innovative concepts in physics, a science was born that has yielded not only staggering quantities of information about the universe but an elegant and useful conception of its origins and behavior. This volume in Harvard’s distinguished series of Source Books serves to record the achievements of this science and illuminate its brief history by bringing together the major contributions through the year 1975.

The volume is organized to trace the development of the basic ideas of astrophysics. The 132 selections document chronologically the changing answers to such fundamental questions as: How did the solar system originate? What makes the stars shine? What lies in the vacuous space between the stars? Are the spiral nebulae distant “island universes”? Will the universe expand forever? The articles range from Hale’s popular piece in Harper’s Magazine to the tensor calculus of Schwarzschild and Einstein. They include Chamberlain and Moulton’s account of the collision hypothesis; Edwin Hubble’s identification of the Crab Nebula with the supernova of 1054; Ralph Fowler’s work on the application of degenerate gas statistics to white dwarfs; and Jan Oort’s detection of galactic rotation. The complexity and richness of twentieth-century astrophysics is felt in these selections and a sense of discovery is provided in reading, in the words of the pioneer scientist, accounts of the first observations of the cosmic rays, the Van Allen belts, the Martian volcanoes and canyons, pulsars, interstellar hydrogen, cosmic magnetic fields, quasars and the remnant background of the primeval big bang.

About half of the papers are printed in their entirety and the others in careful abridgment. Editors Kenneth Lang and Owen Gingerich provide substantial commentary that describes related developments before, during and after the selected research. Works by Heinrich Vogt, Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker, Karl Schwarzschild, Albert Einstein, Aleksandr Friedman and many others appear for the first time in translation.

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Jacket: The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, by Beth Lew-Williams, from Harvard University Press

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Part II

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re showcasing titles that document the Asian American experience. Our second excerpt comes from Beth Lew-Williams’s prizewinning book The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, which historian Richard White describes as “a powerful argument about racial violence that could not be more timely.” Monday night, Gong was asleep in his tent when the vigilantes returned