Cosmos: An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology Paperback – 18 Jul 2008
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"The remarkable story of the sustained human endeavour to understand our place in the universe." - Sir Bernard Lovell, author of Pathways to the Universe "A major achievement that trembles on the brink of being a masterpiece....North is well qualified to write this book: he has a lifetime of experience in the history of astronomy and a narrative style that is a pleasure to read." - Desmond King-Hele, author of Erasmus Darwin: A Life of Unequalled Achievement"
About the Author
John North is professor emeritus at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He is the author of many books, including The Measure of the Universe: A History of Modern Cosmology, The Ambassadors' Secret: Holbein and the World of the Renaissance, and, most recently, God's Clockmaker: Richard Wallingford and the Invention of Time.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. The scope of the work is comprehensive and covers astronomy from ancient times to the most modern techniques and challenges. You should scan the Table of Contents in the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon to get a feel for the range of topics presented.
2. It gracefully explains how, over time, contributions from cultures and individuals combined and evolved into the astronomical systems in use in each era and evolved into today's view of the universe.
The first half of the book deals with ancient and medieval astronomy, including not only Western cultures, but also how astronomy developed and was used in China, India and the Americas. The presentation is seamless and gives the reader a good feel for how astronomical ideas and measurements were influenced by many cultures.
The second half focuses on the evolution of astronomy as a science and how contributions from many individuals were refined and combined to create a coherent view of the universe.
It ends with a look at the research challenges facing the modern astronomer and astrophysisist.
"Cosmos" is an expanded version of North's, "Norton's History of Astronomy and Cosmology", with a large amount of additional material and is much better illustrated. It is written for an educated general audience and can serve as a "read" just for fun, a textbook or a permanent reference.
It took me rather a long time to get through the entire book as it inspired me to dig into other sources for more detailed material on some points. What more can you ask of a history book than to open doors?
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