- Series: Masters of Modern Physics (Book 7)
- Paperback: 456 pages
- Publisher: Springer; First Edition edition (May 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0883188635
- ISBN-13: 978-0883188637
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler (Masters of Modern Physics) First Edition Edition
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From the Back Cover
Science history at its best is passionate, original, and controversial - a perfect description of the work of Owen Gingerich. Physicist, historian of science, and tireless sleuth, Gingerich is internationally respected for his rigorous scholarship and well-known for his challenging views. His work has had a profound effect on the history of science, disputing prevalent notions of the Copernican revolution, revising interpretations of Kepler's work, and redefining Newton. The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler is a provocative Gingerich collection, focusing on the transformation of astronomy from Ptolemy's geocentrism to Kepler's remolding of Copernican cosmology. In 25 bracing essays, it uncovers the subtle and surprising ways in which raw data, interpretation, and creativity propel science. Several of Gingerich's favorite themes are illuminated: the importance of historical context, the careful examination of scientific work habits, and the role of creativity and artistry in science. Did Ptolemy fake his data or merely, as many other scientists have done, mold them into a consistent form without intent to deceive? Was Copernicus's heliocentrism an inevitable response to crisis-ridden Ptolemaic cosmology, or was it an original, unexpected leap of imagination? Are scientific discoveries merely the unveiling of physical reality, or are they more akin to artists' creativity? The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler includes Gingerich's influential essay on crisis versus aesthetic in the Copernican revolution, a thought-provoking look at Newton's Principia as a work of art, and one of Gingerich's most popular pieces, "The Computer versus Kepler", in which an IBM 7094 handlesin seconds a computational problem that occupied the German astronomer for years. Here is science history at its best: astute detective work that demolishes popular notions, sensitivity to context and personality, meticulous scholarship, and elegant writing. In short, classic Gingerich.
About the Author
Owen Gingerich is a senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and chair of Harvard University's History of Science Department.
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Top customer reviews
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And if you're really serious, you'll get a copy of the paper by James Evans in Am. J. Phys 56 (Nov, 1988) 1009-1024. It answered tons of technical questions for me. Just do it, you'll thank me (and Jim Evans!).
I am a climate scientist, not an historian, so I have a steep learning curve to write such a book.I had previously obtained Toomer's magnificent translation of Ptolemy's "Almagest" (it shows Ptolemy to have been the world's first full-on theoretical physicist, and a magnificent teacher). I knew Toomer valued Gingerich highly, so I bought Gingerich's book. It has not disappointed. It has helped me to understand Ptolemy's fairly opaque book much better, and has also given me a much better appreciation of Copernicus the man.
I would have liked it if Gingerich had described Brahe in the same way -- we scientists value observations first, then theory -- and Ivar Peterson's "Newton's Clock" does a better job on Kepler. Nevertheless, I nearly gave this book five stars, not four.