The author of the highly acclaimed Founding Gardeners now gives us an enlightening chronicle of the first truly international scientific endeavor—the eighteenth-century quest to observe the transit of Venus and measure the solar system.
On June 6, 1761, the world paused to observe a momentous occasion: the first transit of Venus between the earth and the sun in more than a century. Through that observation, astronomers could calculate the size of the solar system—but only if they could compile data from many different points of the globe, all recorded during the short period of the transit. Overcoming incredible odds and political strife, astronomers from Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Sweden, and the American colonies set up observatories in remote corners of the world, only to have their efforts thwarted by unpredictable weather and warring armies. Fortunately, transits of Venus occur in pairs: eight years later, the scientists would have another opportunity to succeed.
Chasing Venus brings to life the personalities of the eighteenth-century astronomers who embarked upon this complex and essential scientific venture, painting a vivid portrait of the collaborations, the rivalries, and the volatile international politics that hindered them at every turn. In the end, what they accomplished would change our conception of the universe and would forever alter the nature of scientific research.
About Andrea WulfSee more books from this Author
Less successful is the use of many 18th-century maps, figures and charts. Most are too small to be useful. The images of scientific instruments and locations are often uninteresting...Read Full Review of Chasing Venus | See more reviews from Washington Times
The result is a human story, and it’s worth reading as a rallying call to humanity’s quest to explore the universe simply for the sake of it.Read Full Review of Chasing Venus
Wulf's marvelous eye for detail and talent for simplifying complex science make the book, timed for release a month before the last transit of this century, well worth reading before June.Read Full Review of Chasing Venus
Wulf writes with enthusiasm...Better yet, she explains complex scientific phenomena in clear, layperson’s terms: Here is a book both astrophysicists and poets can understand.Read Full Review of Chasing Venus
Andrea Wulf's story of the chase is an enthralling, nail-biting thriller and will undoubtedly prove one of the non-fiction books of the year.Read Full Review of Chasing Venus
Wulf’s stories come together in a portrait of the first truly global scientific endeavor.Read Full Review of Chasing Venus
An aggregated and normalized score based on 29 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes