By Thomas Levenson
The fascinating, 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 best scientists sought for the “missing” planet Vulcan, whose life was once mandated by means of 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 across 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 subject in movement through the universe, resulting in Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, who nearly centuries later outfitted on Newton’s theories and found Neptune, changing into the main recognized scientist on the planet. Le Verrier tried to surpass that triumph by means of predicting the lifestyles of yet one more planet in our sunlight approach, 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 concept 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 below the inaccurate set of assumptions concerning 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 huge leap forward, the best person highbrow fulfillment of the 20 th century.
A dramatic human tale of an epic quest, The Hunt for Vulcan deals perception into how technology fairly advances (as against the best way we’re taught approximately it in class) and the way the simplest paintings of the best scientists finds an artist’s sensibility. starting a brand new window onto our international, Levenson illuminates a few of our such a lot iconic rules as he recounts one of many strangest episodes within the heritage of science.
Praise for The Hunt for Vulcan
“Delightful . . . an enthralling story approximately an all-but-forgotten episode in technology history.”—The Wall road Journal
“Engaging . . . At middle, 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, fantastically produced publication that tells a cautionary story. . . . Levenson is a breezy author who renders complicated principles in down-to-earth language.”—The Boston Globe
“Looping via technological know-how background 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 appealing idea within the heritage of science.”—Walter Isaacson
“Equal to the simplest technology writing I’ve learn wherever, by way of any writer. fantastically composed, wealthy in old context, deeply researched, it really is, certainly, 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 booklet is not only discovered, passionate, and witty—it is profoundly wise.”—Junot Díaz
From the Hardcover edition.