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Cosmos: An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology (revised)

by John North University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
04/2008
ISBN:
9780226594415
Format:
Pbk 736 pages
Price:
AU$115.00 NZ$125.22
Product Status: In Stock Now
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For millennia humans have studied the skies to help them grow crops, navigate the seas, and earn favor from their gods. We still look to the stars today for answers to fundamental questions: How did the universe begin? Will it end, and if so, how? What is our place within it? John North has been examining such questions for decades. In Cosmos, he offers a sweeping historical survey of the two sciences that help define our place in the universe: astronomy and cosmology.

Organizing his history chronologically, North begins by examining Paleolithic cave drawings that clearly chart the phases of the moon. He then investigates scientific practices in the early civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, and the Americas (among others), whose inhabitants developed sophisticated methods to record the movements of the planets and stars. Trade routes and religious movements, North notes, brought these ancient styles of scientific thinking to the attention of later astronomers, whose own theories—such as Copernicus’ planetary theory—led to the Scientific Revolution.

The work of master astronomers, including Ptolemy, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, is described in detail, as are modern-day developments in astrophysics, such as the advent of radio astronomy, the brilliant innovations of Einstein, and the many recent discoveries brought about with the help of the Hubble telescope. This new edition brings North’s seminal book right up to the present day, as North takes a closer look at last year’s reclassification of Pluto as a “dwarf” planet and gives a thorough overview of current research.

With more than two hundred illustrations and a comprehensive bibliography, Cosmos is the definitive history of astronomy and cosmology. It is sure to find an eager audience among historians of science and astronomers alike.
''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''
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.