Kerry Nietz's Reviews > The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe

The Hunt for Vulcan by Thomas Levenson
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's review
Oct 04, 2015

it was amazing

Author Levenson did a notable thing here—he took a slice of history steeped in physics, advanced mathematics, and astronomy and made it captivating reading. How? By showing the human side of the equation.

“The Hunt for Vulcan” doesn’t just give you a boring dissertation about the search for a “missing” planet. It gives you rich background and interesting anecdotes from the important characters’ lives that helps you understand the entire saga. It reads almost like a novel, with Vulcan as the central character. I enjoyed every bit of it.

Now granted, I’m a bit of an Astronomy fan, so this book may be more interesting to me than others. But it is written in such a way that anyone could understand and enjoy. Even the more technical details (like Einstein’s Relativity) are made easily accessible.

The book also gives a glimpse into how science really works. To paraphrase a line from the book: Science may celebrate the triumph of the better idea, but scientist often don’t—at least not right away. In other words, scientific discovery is as much about the personalities and their agendas as it is about real science. And science is only “settled” until a better idea comes along.

“The Hunt for Vulcan” is a wonderful, little book. I feel smarter (and subtly challenged) for having read it. I highly recommend it.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 4, 2015 – Shelved
October 4, 2015 – Finished Reading

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