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Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos
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Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In the dramatic tradition of the best-selling Longitude, Parallax charts the historical path of observational astronomy’s most daunting challenge: measuring the distance to a star.

The greatest scientific minds applied themselves in vain to the problem across the millennia, beginning with the ancient Greeks. Not until the nineteenth century would three astronomers, armed w
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ebook, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2001)
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Ari
The first half drags a bit -- the author insists on retelling the story of pre-Copernican astronomy. Even in this part of the book, however, I learned a bit. The story gets much better in the second half. There's a lot of material I had never seen before about the evolution of observing practice from Tycho to Bessel.

Several of the anecdotes were new to me.

There is a chapter on Bradley's discovery of the aberration of light. (Parallax is a change in apparent position due to change in the observe
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Daisy2
Very interesting history. I love it that the book included names of individuals whose life of poverty did not prevent them from making their mark in science. We often hear of the poor struggling artist but when I mention the poor scientist that struggled and yet made their mark people chuckle.
Bird
Another science history, this is of astronomers and the, um, well can't call it a race if it lasted a millenia, eh? But that aside, fascinating. If you don't want to name your kid, or someone else's, Tycho Brahe after reading this you weren't paying attention.
ben
This book was very interesting, but for the scientifically minded. It has a bit of physics and calculus in it. Otherwise, it looked at the social impact astronomy has had on the western world in a chronological way.
David
A bit verbose but enjoyable. A bit like reading a dozen biographies with a common thread. Which is wahat one would expect.
Amanda
full of good random facts for non astronomers, decent writer, a little scattered
Nevin
Engrossing, and well written. A great historical account of astronomy.
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