Regular price: $19.95
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $19.95
For more than 50 years, the world's top scientists searched for the "missing" planet Vulcan, whose existence was mandated by Isaac Newton's theories of gravity. Countless hours were spent on the hunt for the elusive orb, and some of the era's most skilled astronomers even claimed to have found it.
There was just one problem: It was never there.
In The Hunt for Vulcan, Thomas Levenson follows the visionary scientists who inhabit the story of the phantom planet, starting with Isaac Newton, who, in 1687, provided an explanation for all matter in motion throughout the universe, leading to Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who, almost two centuries later, built on Newton's theories and discovered Neptune, becoming the most famous scientist in the world. Le Verrier attempted to surpass that triumph by predicting the existence of yet another planet in our solar system: Vulcan.
It took Albert Einstein to discern that the mystery of the missing planet was a problem not of measurements or math but of Newton's theory of gravity itself. Einstein's general theory of relativity proved that Vulcan did not and could not exist and that the search for it had merely been a quirk of operating under the wrong set of assumptions about the universe. Levenson tells the previously untold tale of how the "discovery" of Vulcan in the 19th century set the stage for Einstein's monumental breakthrough, the greatest individual intellectual achievement of the 20th century.
A dramatic human story of an epic quest, The Hunt for Vulcan offers insight into how science really advances (as opposed to the way we're taught about it in school) and how the best work of the greatest scientists reveals an artist's sensibility. Opening a new window onto our world, Levenson illuminates some of our most iconic ideas as he recounts one of the strangest episodes in the history of science.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mark A. Hurt on 11-22-15
This is great stuff!
This is a book for general audiences interested in the history of science -- more at the underlying thinking behind the math. This is told as a "true" tale, which it is. It is read well, and the performance is captivating. Listen to it by the fire over the holidays; you won't regret it.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful
By Jerry Paul Whitt on 11-23-15
Wonderful, Story of the Planet that never was.
Great story about the false Planet Vulcan (Unless you count Star Trek) .. This story shows the tendency of people to wish something so much, they make it true even of it not.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful