By Thomas Levenson
The appealing, all-but-forgotten tale of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and the quest for a planet that by no means existed
For greater than fifty years, the world’s best scientists sought for the “missing” planet Vulcan, whose life used to be mandated via 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 came upon 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 a proof for all topic in movement during the universe, resulting in Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who nearly centuries later equipped on Newton’s theories and chanced on Neptune, turning into the main recognized scientist on this planet. Le Verrier tried to surpass that triumph via predicting the life of one more planet in our sun method, Vulcan.
It took Albert Einstein to figure that the secret of the lacking planet was once an issue no longer of measurements or math yet of Newton’s conception of gravity itself. Einstein’s normal conception of relativity proved that Vulcan didn't and will now not exist, and that the hunt for it had in basic terms been a quirk of working below the incorrect set of assumptions in regards to the universe. Levenson tells the formerly untold story of the way the “discovery” of Vulcan within the 19th century set the level for Einstein’s enormous step forward, the best person highbrow fulfillment of the 20th century.
A dramatic human tale of an epic quest, The Hunt for Vulcan
bargains perception into how technology fairly advances (as against the way in which we’re taught approximately it at school) and the way the easiest paintings of the best scientists finds an artist’s sensibility. commencing a brand new window onto our global, Levenson illuminates a few of our such a lot iconic principles as he recounts one of many strangest episodes within the background 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 highway Journal
“Engaging . . . At middle, it is a tale approximately how technology 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 booklet that tells a cautionary story. . . . Levenson is a breezy author who renders advanced principles in down-to-earth language.”—The Boston Globe
“Looping via technological know-how historical past from Isaac Newton onwards, Levenson elegantly unearths the evolutionary nature of clinical thought.”—Nature
“This pleasant and enlightening drama tells the tale of the quest for a planet that didn't exist and the way Einstein resolved the secret with the main attractive concept within the heritage of science.”—Walter Isaacson
“Equal to the simplest technology writing I’ve learn wherever, through any writer. superbly composed, wealthy in old context, deeply researched, it really is, exceptionally, nice storytelling.”—Alan Lightman, writer of The unintended Universe
“Levenson tells us the place Vulcan got here from, the way it vanished, and why its spirit lurks this present day. alongside the way in which, we research greater than somewhat simply how technology works—when it succeeds in addition to while it fails.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Science writing at its most sensible. This e-book isn't just discovered, passionate, and witty—it is profoundly wise.”—Junot Díaz
From the Hardcover edition.