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  • © 2001

Understanding the Heavens

Thirty Centuries of Astronomical Ideas from Ancient Thinking to Modern Cosmology

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  • Fascinating survey of astronomical ideas from the very beginning until now

  • Concentrates on the evolution of astronomical ideas

  • Lavishly illustrated

  • Includes supplementary material: sn.pub/extras

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USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-662-04441-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
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Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages I-XIII
  2. Introduction and Perspectives

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 1-14
  3. Before the Classical Greek Period

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 15-53
  4. Classical Greek Astronomy

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 55-128
  5. Ptolemy’s Astronomy Questioned

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 129-185
  6. The Period of the Renaissance

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 187-252
  7. Dynamics Enters Astronomy: From Galileo to Newton

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 253-307
  8. Towards Modern Cosmology

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 373-426
  9. Cosmologies of Today and Tomorrow

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 427-548
  10. General Conclusion

    • Susan Kaufman, Jean-Claude Pecker
    Pages 549-553
  11. Back Matter

    Pages 555-597

About this book

Astronomy is the oldest and most fundamental of the natural sciences. From the early beginnings of civilization astronomers have attempted to explain not only what the Universe is and how it works, but also how it started, how it evolved to the present day, and how it will develop in the future. The author, a well-known astronomer himself, describes the evolution of astronomical ideas, briefly discussing most of the instrumental developments. Using numerous figures to elucidate the mechanisms involved, the book starts with the astronomical ideas of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian philosophers, moves on to the Greek period, and then to the golden age of astronomy, i.e. to Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, and ends with modern theories of cosmology. Written with undergraduate students in mind, this book gives a fascinating survey of astronomical thinking.

Keywords

  • Big Bang
  • Cosmology
  • Galileo Galilei
  • Hubble
  • Isaac Newton
  • Natural Sciences
  • Nicolaus Copernicus
  • Renaissance
  • Universe
  • astronomy
  • history of science
  • philosophy of science

Reviews

From the reviews:

"The wide scope of this book is indicated by the cover photographs, showing Stonehenge and the Hubble Space Telescope. It deals with the astronomical ideas of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian observers, the Greek philosophers and the revolutionary concepts of such figures as Copernicus, Galileo and Newton. … buy Understanding the Heavens, for there is much worthwhile material, presented in a logical and constructive way, in it." (Jeffrey Barham, Popular Astronomy, October – December, 2002)

"This … volume, written by a well-known French astronomer, covers almost three millennia of the evolution of the understanding by curious minds of what, until recently, was called the ‘World’ but that we now call the ‘Universe’. … this is not a book about the history of those ideas but about the concepts lying behind the model universes … . much can be learned from this work … ." (F. Binon, Physicalia, Vol. 38 (2), 2002)

"The task Jean-Claude Pecker has set himself in this book is to recount the development of humankind’s ideas about the cosmos from essentially the earliest recorded history up to the present day. The strongest part of the book deals with the fascinating struggle to make sense of the rather complicated observed motions of the celestial objects, especially planets … . The copious illustrations are useful … . this book … contains much interesting and useful material." (J. G. Robertson, The Physicist, Vol. 38 (5), 2001)

"This would be a useful book for someone who is actively involved in cosmological research today, but has only a vague idea of the history of the subject … . It is based on a series of lectures given by the author in 1989, which go back to pre-Greek ideas about astronomy and up to inflation … . the ideas are explained clearly … . Understanding the Heavens is to be welcomed as a worthy and worthwhile addition to the library shelves … ." (John Gribbin, The Observatory, Vol. 121 (1165), 2001)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Collège de France, Annexe Ulm, Paris Cedex 05, France

    Jean-Claude Pecker

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Understanding the Heavens

  • Book Subtitle: Thirty Centuries of Astronomical Ideas from Ancient Thinking to Modern Cosmology

  • Authors: Jean-Claude Pecker

  • Editors: Susan Kaufman

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-04441-4

  • Publisher: Springer Berlin, Heidelberg

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive

  • Copyright Information: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-540-63198-9

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-642-08325-9

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-662-04441-4

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIII, 597

  • Topics: Astronomy, Cosmology and Space Sciences, History of Science

Buying options

eBook
USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-662-04441-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)