Thomas Levenson



Average rating: 3.91 · 3,728 ratings · 571 reviews · 11 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . ...

4.04 avg rating — 1,736 ratings — published 2015 — 10 editions
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Newton and the Counterfeite...

3.76 avg rating — 1,628 ratings — published 2009 — 15 editions
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Einstein in Berlin

3.86 avg rating — 148 ratings — published 2003 — 8 editions
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Money for Nothing: The Scie...

4.08 avg rating — 166 ratings — published 2020 — 6 editions
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Measure for Measure: A Musi...

3.97 avg rating — 39 ratings — published 1994 — 3 editions
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Ice Time: Climate, Science,...

3.25 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 1989 — 2 editions
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The Chess Player

4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2013
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Einstein Revealed

liked it 3.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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Money For Nothing: The Sout...

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Mystery of the Senses: A No...

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 1995
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More books by Thomas Levenson…

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“This Saturday, Galle and a volunteer assistant, Heinrich Ludwig d’Arrest, command the main telescope. Galle stands at the eyepiece and guides the instrument, pointing toward Capricorn. As each star comes into view, he calls out its brightness and position. D’Arrest pores over a sky map, ticking off each candidate as it reveals itself as a familiar object. So it goes until, sometime between midnight and 1 A.M., Galle reels out the numbers for one more mote of light invisible to the naked eye: right ascension 21 h, 53 min, 25.84 seconds. D’Arrest glances down at the chart, then yelps: “that star is not on the map!” The younger man runs to fetch the observatory’s director, who earlier that day had only reluctantly given his permission to attempt what he seems to have thought a fool’s errand. Together, the trio continue to watch the new object until it sets at around 2:30 in the morning. True stars remain mere points in even the most powerful telescopes. This does not, showing instead an unmistakable disk, a full 3.2 arcseconds across—just as Le Verrier had told them to expect. That visible circle can mean just one thing: Galle has just become the first man to see what he knows to be a previously undiscovered planet, one that would come to be called Neptune, just about exactly where Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier told him to look. —”
Thomas Levenson, The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe

“Vulcan is long gone, almost completely forgotten. It may seem today to be merely a curiosity, just another mistake our ancestors made, about which we now know better. But the issue of what to do with failure in science was tricky right at the start of the Scientific Revolution, and it remains so now. We may—we do—know more than the folks back then. But we are not thus somehow immune to the habits of mind, the leaps of imagination, or the capacity for error that they possessed. Vulcan’s biography is one of the human capacity to both discover and self-deceive. It offers a glimpse of how hard it is to make sense of the natural world, and how difficult it is for any of us to unlearn the things we think are so, but aren’t.”
Thomas Levenson, The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe

“... there’s a common trick nature plays on its would-be investigators: resemblance, the human urge to map the unknown onto the already known, can be a snare. Just because something looks like something else doesn’t mean that the backstory for both must be the same. Rocks scattered across the sky may appear to be a rubble field left behind by an explosion…but unless you stop to think how else you might get there, you rely on assumptions not in evidence.”
Thomas Levenson, The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe

Polls

55838
Spotlighted Book Discussion Poll I - October 26, 2011

This is a poll that adds other books to our listing of potential non fiction books to discuss and also helps the moderators determine which one or ones are the most popular. Since we have many more group members than when we first started; voting in the polls is very important. There will be a series of polls. Many of these books have been recommended by group members but were either not selected before nor voted upon before.

Vote for the book that you would most like to read and/or is the book that you believe that would appeal to the most group members.

Note:

We have added some of the books nominated thus far but we have more to add to other polls. However, this poll was getting quite large.

However, if you do not see your favorite book on this list; then just comment or pop me a note and I will immediately add it to this poll.

You can always change your vote at any time; so nothing is lost. There are some books which have been nominated by the same author; however, skip over those if the particular author does not suit you and vote for your favorite or for one you or others might want to read.

Before making your selection, please try to look up your choice and make sure it really is a book you are interested in or you think others would be; do not be lured in by the title. Also, check out the author and what others have said about the book before you (reviewers who you trust). Then of course, make your selection.

And if you do not see your favorite, just contact me and I will add it to the poll.

Cleopatra A Life by Stacy Schiff Stacy Schiff Stacy Schiff

Cleopatra: A Life
 
  18 votes, 10.6%

Hero The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda by Michael Korda

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia
 
  13 votes, 7.6%

A Country of Vast Designs James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry by Robert W. Merry

A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
 
  12 votes, 7.1%

Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman by Philip Freeman

Alexander the Great
 
  12 votes, 7.1%

The Storm of War A New History of the Second World War by Andrew Roberts by Andrew Roberts

The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
 
  12 votes, 7.1%

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett by Allison Hoover Bartlett Allison Hoover Bartlett

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession
 
  11 votes, 6.5%

 
  9 votes, 5.3%

Horse Soldiers The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton by Doug Stanton

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers
 
  7 votes, 4.1%

The Clockwork Universe Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick by Edward Dolnick

The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society and the Birth of the Modern World
 
  6 votes, 3.5%

Newton and the Counterfeiter The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist by Thomas Levenson by Thomas Levenson

Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist
 
  5 votes, 2.9%

A History of God The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Karen Armstrong Karen Armstrong Karen Armstrong

A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
 
  5 votes, 2.9%

The Idea of America Reflections on the Birth of the United States by Gordon S. Wood Gordon S. Wood Gordon S. Wood

The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States
 
  4 votes, 2.4%

The Ascent of Money A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson Niall Ferguson Niall Ferguson

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
 
  4 votes, 2.4%

The Painter's Chair George Washington and the Making of American Art by Hugh Howard by Hugh Howard

The Painter's Chair: George Washington and the Making of American Art
 
  4 votes, 2.4%

Churchill by Paul Johnson by Paul Johnson Paul Johnson

Churchill
 
  3 votes, 1.8%

A History of the American People by Paul Johnson by Paul Johnson Paul Johnson

A History of the American People
 
  3 votes, 1.8%

The Birth of Modern Politics Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828 (Pivotal Moments in American History) by Lynn Hudson Parsons by Lynn Hudson Parsons

The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams and the Election of 1828
 
  3 votes, 1.8%

Winston's War Churchill, 1940-1945 by Max Hastings by Max Hastings Max Hastings

Winston's War: Churchill, 1940-1945
 
  3 votes, 1.8%

U. S. Grant American Hero, American Myth by Joan Waugh Joan Waugh Joan Waugh

U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth
 
  3 votes, 1.8%

Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy by Donald Kagan by Donald Kagan

Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy
 
  3 votes, 1.8%

Letters from America by Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis de Tocqueville

Letters from America
 
  3 votes, 1.8%

Destiny Disrupted A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary by Tamim Ansary

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes
 
  3 votes, 1.8%

Modern Times The World from the 20s to the 90s by Paul Johnson by Paul Johnson Paul Johnson

Modern Times: The World from the 20s to the 90s
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

Decision Points by George W. Bush by George W. Bush George W. Bush

Decision Points
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

The Journey by Tony Blair Tony Blair Tony Blair

The Journey
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

The Age of Wonder How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes by Richard Holmes Richard Holmes

The Age of Wonder
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments by George B. Johnson by George B. Johnson

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

Thucydides The Reinvention of History by Donald Kagan Donald Kagan

Thucydides: The Reinvention of History
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

The Union War by Gary W. Gallagher by Gary W. Gallagher

The Union War
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

Civilization The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson by Niall Ferguson Niall Ferguson

Civilization: The West and the Rest
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

God's Battalions The Case for the Crusades by Rodney Stark Rodney Stark Rodney Stark

God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith Adam Smith Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations
 
  2 votes, 1.2%

Courage and Consequence My Life as a Conservative in the Fight by Karl Rove by Karl Rove Karl Rove

Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight
 
  1 vote, 0.6%

Party over Section The Rough and Ready Presidential Election of 1848 (American Presidential Elections) by Joel H. Silbey by Joel H. Silbey

Party Over Section: The Rough and Ready Presidential Election of 1848
 
  1 vote, 0.6%

 
  1 vote, 0.6%

Madam Secretary A Memoir by Madeleine Albright Madeleine Albright Madeleine Albright

Madam Secretary: A Memoir
 
  1 vote, 0.6%

Jesus A Biography, from a Believer by Paul Johnson by Paul Johnson Paul Johnson


Jesus: A Biography from a Believer
 
  0 votes, 0.0%

A History of the Jews (Perennial Library) by Paul Johnson Paul Johnson Paul Johnson

A History of the Jews
 
  0 votes, 0.0%

A History of Christianity by Paul Johnson Paul Johnson Paul Johnson

A History of Christianity
 
  0 votes, 0.0%

Merchant Kings by Stephen R. Bown Stephen R. Bown Stephen R. Bown

Merchant Kings
 
  0 votes, 0.0%

The Theory of Moral Sentiments  by Adam Smith by Adam Smith Adam Smith

The Theory of Moral Sentiments
 
  0 votes, 0.0%

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