- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1st Edition edition (28 Nov. 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521411580
- ISBN-13: 978-0521411585
- Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 3.3 x 25.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy (Cambridge Illustrated Histories)
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'… has the weight of authority you would expect from a combination of Cambridge University Press and an author who was formerly head of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in Cambridge. Everything from Stonehenge to the Hubble Space Telescope, with potted biographies as well as great ideas, good illustrations, a useful glossary and a chronology.' Good Book Guide
'The Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy is a book that professional as well as amateur historians of science should have on their bookshelves … beautifully illustrated … You will find yourself sitting down to glance at this book and end up reading late into the night … well written and a wonderful source of information.' Raymond F. Haynes, Metascience
'… a hardbound book of such size and attractiveness for £25 is remarkable value … a volume that historians, librarians and enthusiasts will want to have within easy reach for many years to come.' P. D. Hingley, Astronomy and Geophysics
'… the best account of the history of astronomy in one volume to date.' Albert van Helden, Journal for the History of Astronomy
'The illustrations (both colour and black and white) are not only beautifully reproduced, but opportunity has been taken to use some which have never or rarely been seen before … This is a book that has been produced at a price that is very reasonable, and I would recommend it to all who have an interest in the history of astronomy.' A. J. Kinder, Journal of the British Astronomical Association
'… well written and a wonderful source of information.' AAHPSSS
'… a most useful and enjoyable book, published at what is, by present-day standards, a very reasonable price. Strongly recommended.' Sir Patrick Moore, Modern Astronomer
'… excellent book.' Martin Ince, The Times Higher Education Supplement
'… beautifully produced, sumptuously illustrated, well organised and accessible.' Allan Chapman, Astronomy Now
'This is a lavishly illustrated and well produced account of astronomical theory and practice from earliest times to the present day.' Aslib Book Guide
'Reading this excellent book will give everyone an understanding of how great scientists work and how their work has produced great astronomy.' Paul Murdin, Endeavour
'… this is a fine volume which treats its topics thoroughly and fills a niche in the current historical literature in astronomy. Considering some of the prices charged now for such books this can be regarded as a bargain and comes highly recommended.' Robert Argyle, The Observatory
Expertly written and lavishly illustrated, The Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy offers a unique account of astronomical theory and practice from antiquity to the present day. Packed with anecdotes and intriguing detail, this is a lively and highly visual history of astronomy - a compelling read for specialists and non-specialists alike.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The scholarship is top-notch: Michael Hoskin is the editor and a contributor, and other contributors include J.A. Bennett, Owen Gingerich, Clive Ruggles, Christopher Cullen and David Dewhirst--superb scholars all. They cover the history of astronomy from prehistory, through the invention of the telescope and the scientific revolution, to the rise of astrophysics and beyond. Astronomy in non-western cultures (China, India, Islam) is also covered, and makes a welcome addition to the traditional Euro-centric story.
But the illustrations (many in color) really make the book: pictures, graphs, sidebars, frontispieces, manuscript pages, newspaper clippings, paintings, etc. enhance the written portion and make it that much more informative.
In sum, this may be the most useful and enjoyable book on the history of astronomy in print.
As a scientist in microelectronics, I appreciated how people of different ages developed a concept of the universe based on their sometimes incomprehensible observational data; how that concept changed due to the ever increasing accuracy of observation; and how the need for more accurate observation drove the need for improvements in instrumentation.
Unlike a typical astronomy (or engineering) textbook that lists facts that is perhaps a culmination of a thoughtprocess of many generations, this book tries to answer the even more important question, how did they figure that? - outlining breakthrough concepts and how and why they were arrived at but not dragging the reader down in detail.
The history of astronomy is the history of people (and not that of a single genius), and how scientists and astronomers built on the results of the previous generation, sometimes tearing concepts down, but ever improving our view. There have been some very smart people in the past in astronomy and in other sciences; and it is incredible what they accomplished with what little they had. The book pays respect to these individuals, as we all should, as we all stand on the shoulders of these giants.