By Thomas Levenson
The alluring, all-but-forgotten tale of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and the hunt for a planet that by no means existed
For greater than fifty years, the world’s most sensible scientists hunted for the “missing” planet Vulcan, whose lifestyles was once mandated through Isaac Newton’s theories of gravity. numerous hours have been spent at the hunt for the elusive orb, and a few of the era’s such a lot expert astronomers even claimed to have discovered it.
there has been only one challenge: It used to be by no means there.
In The Hunt for Vulcan, Thomas Levenson follows the visionary scientists who inhabit the tale of the phantom planet, beginning with Isaac Newton, who in 1687 supplied an evidence for all subject in movement through the universe, resulting in Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who virtually centuries later outfitted on Newton’s theories and chanced on Neptune, changing into the main well-known scientist on the earth. Le Verrier tried to surpass that triumph via predicting the lifestyles of yet one more planet in our sunlight process, Vulcan.
It took Albert Einstein to figure that the secret of the lacking planet was once an issue now not of measurements or math yet of Newton’s idea of gravity itself. Einstein’s basic thought of relativity proved that Vulcan didn't and will no longer exist, and that the hunt for it had in simple terms been a quirk of working less than the inaccurate set of assumptions concerning the universe. Levenson tells the formerly untold story of ways the “discovery” of Vulcan within the 19th century set the level for Einstein’s enormous leap forward, the best person highbrow fulfillment of the 20th century.
A dramatic human tale of an epic quest, The Hunt for Vulcan deals perception into how technological know-how particularly advances (as against the way in which we’re taught approximately it in class) and the way the simplest paintings of the best scientists unearths an artist’s sensibility. commencing a brand new window onto our global, Levenson illuminates a few of our such a lot iconic rules as he recounts one of many strangest episodes within the historical past of science.
Praise for The Hunt for Vulcan
“Delightful . . . an enthralling story approximately an all-but-forgotten episode in technological know-how history.”—The Wall road Journal
“Engaging . . . At center, this can be a tale approximately how technological know-how advances, one perception at a time. however the immediacy, virtually romance, of Levenson’s writing makes it nearly novelistic.”—The Washington Post
“A brief, superbly produced e-book that tells a cautionary story. . . . Levenson is a breezy author who renders advanced rules in down-to-earth language.”—The Boston Globe
“Looping via technological know-how heritage from Isaac Newton onwards, Levenson elegantly finds the evolutionary nature of medical thought.”—Nature
“This pleasant and enlightening drama tells the tale of the search for a planet that didn't exist and the way Einstein resolved the secret with the main attractive idea within the background of science.”—Walter Isaacson
“Equal to the easiest technology writing I’ve learn wherever, through any writer. superbly composed, wealthy in ancient context, deeply researched, it really is, peculiarly, nice storytelling.”—Alan Lightman, writer of The unintentional Universe
“Levenson tells us the place Vulcan got here from, the way it vanished, and why its spirit lurks at the present time. alongside the way in which, we examine greater than a little simply how technology works—when it succeeds in addition to whilst it fails.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Science writing at its top. This ebook isn't just realized, passionate, and witty—it is profoundly wise.”—Junot Díaz
From the Hardcover edition.