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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on 24 August 2012
Thomas Gold (1920-2004) was one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century astronomy. Unlike his colleague and contemporary Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), Gold never became a household name, but he was a powerful 'mover and shaker' behind the scenes and made major discoveries in and beyond his field, notably his demonstration that pulsars are spinning neutron stars emitting powerful beams of radiation, the accepted theory today.

Gold completed his memoirs shortly before his death in 2004. Now they have been ably edited by Simon Mitton, who was a research student in Cambridge at the time of the discovery of pulsars and so who has inside knowledge of this dramatic episode in the history of astronomy. These edited memoirs make compelling reading: from fighting off attacks from Nazi thugs during his schooldays in 1930s Berlin to his discovery at Mount Palomar of what is now called high-energy astrophysics, we get a sense of a formidable character as well as a powerful intellect. I recommend this book to everyone interested in the history of science; in particular it will be an important primary source for future historians of astronomy.
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