Dispatches from Planet 3 - Marcia Bartusiak

Staff Pick

An award-winning science writer with an advanced degree in physics, Marcia Bartusiak has the knowledge and the enthusiasm to make even complex principles of quantum theory accessible and fascinating to non-scientists. In these thirty-three brief, elegant essays, she gives a thorough grounding in the history of astronomy, tracing its many revolutions from heliocentrism to the discoveries of double stars, supernovae, spiral galaxies, quasars, black holes, dark matter, and the whole expanding universe. Each discussion traces the science as well as the impact of the ideas themselves, showing how our evolving understanding of physical phenomena affected our sense of our place in the universe—and in turn led to our next foray into the unknown. As she traces the evolution of cosmology, Bartusiak chronicles the major questions scientists asked and how they answered them, details the necessary technological advances, summarizes the debates surrounding revelations that were often as unsettling as they were thrilling, and profiles the key thinkers involved. This parade of giants includes many iconic names—Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, Hubble, Hawking—as well as many that will be new to most readers, though their achievements may be familiar. Cecilia Helena Payne, for instance, proved that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, a discovery with far-reaching implications, and Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars, though the Nobel for this breakthrough went to two male scientists. And so on, for Beatrice Tinsley, Vera Rubin, Margaret Burbidge, and Henrietta Swann Leavitt, all brilliant, dedicated women whose contributions to science have been overlooked for too long. They’ve found an eloquent and spirited advocate in Bartusiak.

Dispatches from Planet 3: Thirty-Two (Brief) Tales on the Solar System, the Milky Way, and Beyond By Marcia Bartusiak Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300235746
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - September 18th, 2018