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eBook The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry and the Pioneers of Planet Hunting ePub

eBook The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry and the Pioneers of Planet Hunting ePub

by Tom Standage

  • ISBN: 0802713637
  • Category: Astronomy and Space Science
  • Subcategory: Math Science
  • Author: Tom Standage
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Walker Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Pages: 256
  • ePub book: 1248 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1557 kb
  • Other: lit lrf mbr mobi
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 135


You might expect planet Neptune’s discovery to be worthy of a footnote, or a magazine article at most. Yet Tom Standage manages to bring alive a fascinating story with an entertaining cast of characters from the late 19th century around this discovery.

You might expect planet Neptune’s discovery to be worthy of a footnote, or a magazine article at most. Man has known about the first six planets since ancient times.

Standage, Tom. Publication date. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by KellyCritch on September 30, 2009. SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata). Terms of Service (last updated 12/31/2014).

The Neptune File book.

January 2001 · Astronomy. A simple dynamical model is employed to study the possible orbital evolution of scattered planets and phase plane analysis is used to classify the parameter space and solutions. Orbital Evolution of Scattered Planets. July 2001 · The Astrophysical Journal. Li-Chin Yeh. Ing-Guey Jiang. Our results reconfirm that there is always an increase in eccentricity when the planet was scattered to migrate outward when the initial eccentricity is zero. Applying our study on the Solar System and considering the.

A fun read for astronomy fans. Published by Thriftbooks. com User, 13 years ago. I read this to my son a couple years ago (when he was 10), and we both really enjoyed it. I had been reading it myself, but decided to read the opening chapter to him and he was hooked.

In 1995 Walker & Company published a small book authored by the professional writer Dava Sobel entitled Longitude: The Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. Not only did the book sell exceptionally well; it also spawned a threehour film, Longitude, starring Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon, and a new, lavishly illustrated work, The Illustrated Longitude, by Sobel and Harvard's William J. H. Andrewes. It is difficult to think of another book in the history of science that has attained comparable success.

Describes the dramatic events surrounding the discovery of Neptune, the eighth planet in the solar system, and profiles the two men, British mathematician John Couch Adams and French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier who predicted where the planet would be based on mathematical calculations rather than on observation.

Modern (Nineteenth Century To 1950). The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry and the Pioneers of Planet Hunting. New York: Walker & Company, 2000. Michael J. Crowe, "Tom Standage: The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry and the Pioneers of Planet Hunting," Isis 93, no. 1 (March 2002): 130-131. Of all published articles, the following were the most read within the past 12 months. The History of Medicine and the Scientific Revolution. Science and Orthodox Christianity: An Overview.

Stagflation and the Rejection of Keynesian Economics: A Case of Naive Falsification. On the logical formalization of theory change and scientific anomalies. Ricardo Sousa Silvestre. Logic Journal of the IGPL.

The Neptune File: A Story of Astronomical Rivalry and the Pioneers of Planet Hunting. Tom Standage (2000). p. 188. ISBN 978-0-8027-1363-6. 168. ISBN 0-8027-1363-7.

The Neptune File is the first full account of the dramatic events surrounding the eighth planet's discovery, and the story of two remarkable men who were able to "see" on paper what astronomers looking through telescopes for more than 200 years had overlooked.

On June 26, 1841, John Couch Adams, a brilliant young mathematician at Cambridge University, chanced upon a report by England's Astronomer Royal, George Airy, describing unsuccessful attempts to explain the mystifying orbital behavior of the planet Uranus, discovered 65 years earlier. Adams theorized that Uranus's orbit was being affected by the gravitational pull of another, as-yet-unseen planet. Furthermore, he believed that he did not need to see the planet to know where it was. Four years later, his daring mathematical calculations pinpointed the planet's location, but Airy failed to act on them―a controversial lapse that would have international repercussions.

Soon after Adams's "proof," a rival French astronomer, Urbain Le Verrier, also calculated the planet's position, and the race was on to actually view it. Found just where Adams and Le Verrier had predicted, the planet was named Neptune―and as the first celestial object located through calculation rather than observation, its discovery pioneered a new method for planet hunting.

Drawing on long-lost documents in George Airy's Neptune scrapbook, which resurfaced mysteriously at an observatory in Chile in 1999, The Neptune File is a crackling good human drama and a fascinating exploration of the science that underpins planetary astronomy. And the tale continues to unfold, as Tom Standage relates: Since 1995, astronomers have discovered more than 40 planets outside our solar system, opening an intriguing window on the universe. Yet none of these planets have ever been seen. Their discovery―and the history of science―owes much to the two men who unlocked the secret to locating unseen new worlds.


nailer nailer
You might expect planet Neptune’s discovery to be worthy of a footnote, or a magazine article at most. Yet Tom Standage manages to bring alive a fascinating story with an entertaining cast of characters from the late 19th century around this discovery.

Man has known about the first six planets since ancient times. They’re bright enough to be seen with the naked eye, and their movements across the sky clearly distinguish them from the stars.

Searching the sky with his advanced (for the time) telescope, amature astronomer William Hershel discovers a seventh planet, Uranus, in 1781. This created a sensation among astronomers, and opened up the possibility of more planets in the sky.

While trying to compute the precise orbit of Uranus, astronomers noted something wasn’t quite right. It was speeding up and slowing down from where it was expected to be. Two astronomers, the brash Frenchman Urbain Le Verrier and the quiet Englishman John Adams begin undertaking the complex calculations to try and predict where the new planet should appear.

With the calculations underway, the race is on to actually find the new planet, an amazing achievement with 19th century technology. The acrimony and infighting resulting from the discovery also makes for a great story.
Hugifyn Hugifyn
This is an excellent book if you have an interest in math, history and science. Cosmos fans will love it.
The story of the discovery of the planet Neptune is one of the most fascinating in the era of modern astronomy. Kepler's laws of planetary motion and Newton's unprecedented mathematical description of the law of universal gravitation allowed predictions of planetary positions to an accuracy of arcseconds.
In view of this successful mathematical description, Uranus' misbehavior was so bad that it was proving to be a continual embarrassment to astronomers, and the drive to find a solution was strong in the early to mid 19th century. The story of Adams in England, Le Verrier in France, and Galle in Germany has been told many times, and will be familiar to fans of the history of astronomy. Standage's retelling of the story is a good read, but probably adds little to Grosser's 'The Discovery of Neptune' (1962). An interesting facet Standage adds to the picture has to do with the title of his book. The 'file' in question belongs to George Airy (a notoriously fastidious record keeper). It contained correspondence, news clippings, etc., on the issue of the discovery of Neptune. Conspiracy theorists abounded in the years after the discovery, and some made the claim that Airy was in cahoots with Le Verrier in suppressing Adams' work to ensure that the credit would go to the Frenchman. Apparently Airy's file disappeared at some point during the last 20 years or so, renewing the conspiracy theorists' energies. Standage informs us late in his book that the file eventually turned up among the papers of a recently deceased former astronomer of the Greenwich Observatory. Examination of the file proved that there was no collusion.
This incident deserves further mention. Standage does not name the astronomer who had the file, nor the circumstances under which it was 'borrowed.' Nor does he elaborate on what was found there, other than exonerating Airy of the charge of conspiracy to suppress Adams' findings. Just who did have the file, and for how long? My own brief research revealed that an historian of science named Dennis Rawlins has written several articles about this situation, claiming a cover-up on the part of English astronomers, and alleging that the Neptune file contains a copy of Adams' original paper in which his position prediction is off by more than 12 degrees, and that a faction of 'Cambridge' astronomers is conspiring to keep the contents of the file suppressed.
I contacted two historians of science, one at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and one at Harvard. Neither knows of any evidence as to the truth of these allegations, and both attest that Rawlins tends to gravitate toward farfetched notions that mainstream science regards with suspicion. In fact, Rawlins doesn't publish his papers in mainstream journals, but in his own self-published journal 'Dio.'
At any rate, Standage's treatment of the issues was disappointingly brief and left me wondering if he was unable to dredge up any additional info himself.
Standage doesn't end the story with the discovery of Neptune and the international fallout over credit that ensued. He goes on to add the modern planet seekers, those who look for - and find - planets around other stars. Their challenge may be technically greater - to discern the minute wobbles of distant stars and infer the existence of planets, but they also have superior tools. Standage draws the parallel between their task, and the way Adams and Le Verrier inferred the existence of Neptune mathematically long before it was seen by astronomers. The comparison is perhaps valid, but the modern search for extrasolar planets certainly carries none of the intrigue of the Neptune story, where the search was carried out with paper and pencil and little more.
Standage's book is a good read, particularly for those unfamiliar with the details of the story. However, I would still recommend Grosser's book as the better account (minus the modern info), but I would even more highly recommend Richard Baum and William Sheehan's excellent 'In Search Of Planet Vulcan: The Ghost In Newton's Clockwork Universe,' a book which retells the Neptune story, possibly better than either Grosser and Standage, and adding the historical context of the planet Vulcan search as well.
I was frustrated upon finishing this book. I wished Standage had done the digging necessary to really tell the story behind the "file." Hopefully more will come to light of the contents of Airy's Neptune File, and will be published in some still unwritten account.
This book is a story of scientific prediction and discovery. It also is a lesson on the workings of institutional science.
A Cambridge mathematician calculates the position of an undiscovered planet, now known as Neptune. He submits his predictions to the director of the Cambridge Observatory. The Cambridge director, not wanting to take a chance on looking for a planet based solely on calculations, sends the mathematician to the director of the Greenwich Observatory. The Greenwich director, too busy with his mission, sends the mathematician back to the Cambridge Observatory. The directors spend endless weeks exchanging letters (the 19th century equivalent of e-mail) on why each should or should not look for the planet, seemingly oblivious to the opportunity that has been given to them. Meanwhile, a French mathematician also calculates the position of the planet. Going around the powers-that-be, he asks a contact at the Berlin Observatory, an assistant, to have a look for the planet. The German astronomer and a friend find the planet in a few hours. The English establishment is left with a lot of explaining to do.
How far have we come in the last 150 years? The only lesson is that we never learn our lesson.
Tar Tar
This book is not only a very good historical look at the mathematical calculation and theory that went into pinpointing the then unseen planet Neptune, Tom Standage has written an exciting and thought provoking narrative. As fans of Jon Krakauer's Everest and climbing exploits can attest, the storytelling can be as important as the story.
This book weaves intrigue, greed and arrogance into the telling of the history, thus avoiding the publication of a "dry" account of some very historical events. Not only does this bring the reader closer to the emotions and ambience of the times, it opens the subject to a broader audience. Though an astronomy buff myself, this is a book anyone with in interest in science and human drama could enjoy.
In other words, this is a great read and I was somewhat saddened when it ended. I might have to go through several more books before I find another one as well written and enjoyable as the Neptune File.