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Historical & Cultural Astronomy
cover

Neptune: From Grand Discovery to a World Revealed

Essays on the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of John Couch Adams

Editors: Editor-in-chief: Sheehan, William
Smith, Robert, Bell, Trudy E., Kennett, Carolyn (Eds.)

  • A major reassessment of the discovery of Neptune from a pan-European perspective 
  • Written by a distinguished team of extensively published researchers 
  • Provides new analysis and theoretical insights into the original discovery of Neptune
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eBook 93,08 €
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  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • Due: December 12, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-54218-4
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Hardcover 109,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • Due: December 12, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-54217-7
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  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
About this book

The 1846 discovery of Neptune is one of the most remarkable stories in the history of science and astronomy.  John Couch Adams and U.J. Le Verrier both investigated anomalies in the motion of Uranus and independently predicted the existence and location of this new planet. However, interpretations of the events surrounding this discovery have long been mired in controversy.  Who first predicted the new planet?  Was the discovery just a lucky fluke? The ensuing storm engaged astronomers across Europe and the United States. Written by an international group of authors, this pathbreaking volume explores in unprecedented depth the contentious history of Neptune’s discovery, drawing on newly discovered documents and re-examining the historical record. In so doing, we gain new understanding of the actions of key individuals and sharper insights into the pressures acting on them.  The discovery of Neptune was a captivating mathematical moment and was widely regarded at the time as the greatest triumph of Newton’s theory of universal gravitation. The book therefore begins with Newton’s development of his ideas of gravity. It examines too the mathematical calculations related to the discovery of Neptune, using new theories and tools provided by advances in celestial mechanics over the past twenty years.  Through this process, the book analyzes why the mathematical approach that proved so potent in the discovery of Neptune, grand as it was, could not help produce similar discoveries despite several valiant attempts. In the final chapters, we see how the discovery of Neptune marked the end of one quest—to explain the wayward motions of Uranus—and the beginning of another quest to fill in the map and understand the nature of the outer Solar System, whose icy precincts Neptune, as the outermost of the giant planets, bounds.  

About the authors

William Sheehan is an astronomical historian and author. He is a regular scholar-in-residence at leading observatories, including Yerkes, Lick, Lowell and Mt. Wilson. As both a professional psychiatrist and an astronomer, he has a unique insight into the personalities of the pioneering figures of the history of science. He has published a number of books on the history of solar system studies, especially on the Moon and Mars. Sheehan is a consulting editor of Sky & Telescope, a 2001 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for his research on the Milky Way, and a recipient of the Gold Medal of the Oriental Astronomical Association. Asteroid no. (16037) is named in his honor.
Robert W. Smith is a Professor at the University of Alberta in the Department of History and Classics. He directed the Science, Technology and Society Program in the Faculty of Arts. Smith served as the Walter Hines Page Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina in 1993–94. He held the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the U.S. National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution during the academic year 2006–07. He is a winner of the History of Science Society's Watson Davis Prize and in 2020 he was awarded the Leroy E. Doggett Prize in Historical Astronomy by the American Astronomical Society. Smith has written numerous groundbreaking articles about the discovery of Neptune.
Trudy E. Bell, contributing editor for Sky & Telescope and member of the editorial board for Springer’s Historical & Cultural Astronomy series of books, earned her M.A. in the history of science and American intellectual history from New York University (1978). Her particular research interest is nineteenth-century US astronomy. The author or coauthor of a dozen books, she has been senior writer for the University of California High-Performance AstroComputing Center, and an editor for Scientific American and IEEE Spectrum magazines. Her journalism and research awards include the David N. Schramm Award from the American Astronomical Society (2006) and the Herbert C. Pollock Award of the Dudley Observatory (2004 and 2007). Asteroid (323552) is named in her honour.
Carolyn Kennett, FRAS, is a writer, researcher and astronomer who lives in the southwest of England.  She is co-editor of the Society for the History of Astronomy Bulletin. She delivers creative engagement opportunities for history, science and astronomy as a director of Mayes Creative Ltd and a director of Cornwall Sea to Stars. She runs her own business Archaeoastronomy Cornwall.

Buy this book

eBook 93,08 €
price for India (gross)
  • The eBook version of this title will be available soon
  • Due: December 12, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-54218-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format:
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Hardcover 109,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • Due: December 12, 2020
  • ISBN 978-3-030-54217-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide. COVID-19 shipping restrictions apply.
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Neptune: From Grand Discovery to a World Revealed
Book Subtitle
Essays on the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of John Couch Adams
Editors
  • William Sheehan
  • Robert Smith
  • Trudy E. Bell
  • Carolyn Kennett
Series Title
Historical & Cultural Astronomy
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-54218-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-54218-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-54217-7
Series ISSN
2509-310X
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 290
Number of Illustrations
10 b/w illustrations
Topics

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