Masters of the Universe: Conversations with Cosmologists of the Past

Hardcover | December 20, 2014

byHelge Kragh

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How did our modern picture of the universe come into being? Masters of the Universe tells this fascinating story in an unusual format that blends factual and fictional elements. It is based on a series of interviews that a fictional person conducted with leading astronomers and physicistsbetween 1913 and 1965. Among the interviewed scientists are giants such as Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, and George Gamow, but also scientists who are less well known today or not primarily known as cosmologists such as Karl Schwarzschild, Paul Dirac, and Svante Arrhenius. By following the interviews the reader gets a lively and "almost authentic" impression of the problems that faced this early generation of cosmologists. Although the interviews are purely fictional, a product of the author's imagination, they could have taken place in just the way that is described.They are solidly based on historical facts and, moreover, supplemented with careful annotations and references to the literature. In this way the book bridges the gap between scholarly and popular history of science.

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How did our modern picture of the universe come into being? Masters of the Universe tells this fascinating story in an unusual format that blends factual and fictional elements. It is based on a series of interviews that a fictional person conducted with leading astronomers and physicistsbetween 1913 and 1965. Among the interviewed sci...

After graduation from the University of Copenhagen in physics and chemistry, and a period as a high school teacher, Helge Kragh became Associate Professor at Cornell University, Departments of History and Physics. Since 1990 he has held positions as Curator at the Steno Museum for Science and Medicine, Aarhus University, and as Profess...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0.84 inPublished:December 20, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198722893

ISBN - 13:9780198722892

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Table of Contents

1. Kristian Birkeland: from aurora to the universe2. Svante Arrhenius' eternal cosmos3. Karl Schwarzschild: astronomer and physicist4. Hugo von Seeliger and stellar cosmology5. Albert Einstein's finite universe6. Willem de Sitter and the expanding universe7. George Lemaitre's primeval atom8. Arthur Eddington's rationalistic cosmology9. Edwin Hubble, observational cosmologist10. George Gamow: nuclear physics and the early universe11. Fred Hoyle and Hermann Bondi: the steady state theory12. Paul Dirac and the magic of large numbers13. Robert Dicke and the big bang

Editorial Reviews

"A rich and highly imaginative narrative that uses fictional interviews as the platform for the story, which has a fine historiographical style and is presented with flair. This is an absorbing and different approach to the history of cosmology." --Simon Mitton, University of Cambridge