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The Victorian Amateur Astronomer: Independent Astronomical Research in Britain, 1820-1920 (Wiley PRAXIS Series in Astronomy & Astrophysics) [Hardcover]

Allan Chapman
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Book Description

20 Nov 1998 Wiley PRAXIS Series in Astronomy & Astrophysics
This book offers a fascinating exploration of Victorian astronomy. It describes the technical issues astronomers faced, the problems of finance and patronage, and the dissementation of scientific ideas. It also examines the relationship between amateur and professional astronomers.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (20 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471962570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471962571
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 17.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,607,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"...This is the first study in depth of amateur astronomy, presenting much new material. it is no dry sociological or economic history of science, but about real people and thier fobiles, and the author, drawing in an immense range of sources, brings them to life and interact in a most interesting and readable way...", , , Annals of Science, Volume 57#

From the Back Cover

This is the first book to look in detail at amateur astronomy in Victorian Britain. It deals with the technical issues that were active in Victorian astronomy, and reviews the problems of finance, patronage and the dissemination of scientific ideas. It also examines the relationship between the amateur and professional in Britain. It contains a wealth of previously unpublished biographical and anecdotal material, and an extended bibliography with notes incorporating much new scholarship. In The Victorian Amateur Astronomer, Allan Chapman shows that while on the continent astronomical research was lavishly supported by the state, in Britain such research was paid for out of the pockets of highly educated, wealthy gentlemen — the so–called ‘Grand Amateurs’. It was these powerful individuals who commissioned the telescopes, built the observatories, ran the learned societies, and often stole discoveries from their state–employed colleagues abroad. In addition to the ‘Grand Amateurs’, Victorian Britain also contained many self–taught amateurs. Although they belonged to no learned societies, these people provide a barometer of the popularity of astronomy in that age. In the late 19th century, the comfortable middle classes — clergymen, lawyers, physicians and retired military officers — took to astronomy as a serious hobby. They formed societies which focused on observation, lectures and discussions, and it was through this medium that women first came to play a significant role in British astronomy. Readership: Undergraduate and postgraduate students studying the history of science or humanities, professional historians of science, engineering and technology, particularly those with an interest in astronomy, the development of astronomical ideas, scientific instrument makers, and amateur astronomers.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In May 1832, George Biddell Airy, who was soon to become Astronomer Royal, completed a long and detailed Report for the British Association for the Advancement of Science (B.A.A.S.) on the contemporary state of astronomy at home and abroad [1]. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An exhaustive and comprehensive description of amateur astronomy in Victorian times. Thoroughly well written and eminently readable. Beautifully illustrated throughout with many previously unpublished images. Allan Chapman's exhaustive research is self evident and the book is worth the price just for the plethora of references alone, which will be of tremendous value to any historian of science. A 'tour de force' by any standard!
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Space Exploration began at the Amateur Level! 19 July 2002
By Twain Game - Published on Amazon.com
This book lays out in some detail the contributions of early amateur astonomers. This book is an excellent source for information on a very interesting subject that almost every can enjoy because of its shear excitment. It is like the gold rush in America where everyone made an attempt at fame. This book digs deep aiming at the bottom of the iceberg where often most research looks only at the tip of the iceberg. You come to understand exactly the situation faced by "earlier eyes". It is a wonderful book on a subject that draws you closer by its clear presentation and well defined thought. It is a true testament to a modern genius and rennassiance man...
5.0 out of 5 stars A Golden Age 20 Nov 2013
By Mark Lancaster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Astronomy is my life-long hobby, and I have long had a love affair with the amateur astronomers of the Victorian era. Mr. Chapman has produced a well-researched work that thoroughly covers all aspects of this period, including placing these personalities in context with the larger contemporary society.

Pricey, but well worth the investment for those interested in the history of amateur science.
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