- Paperback: 334 pages
- Publisher: W H Freeman & Co (April 1, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0716727242
- ISBN-13: 978-0716727248
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,932,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Newton's Clock: Chaos in the Solar System
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Ptolemy's system wasn't just a philosophy about the earth being the centre of the universe, but actually was used to make useful predictions, but one reason Peterson mentions for the Copernican system to be accepted was that it explained the precession of the equinoxes. Perhaps an even more fundamental idea in astronomy is that astronomy has a physical basis, and Kepler came up with this idea. The planets are not just points of light that move in a predictable way, but are pieces of matter like our world.
The book has a good description of the Antikythera mechanism, as well as phenomena that readers may not have known about, like tidal locking of moons and resonances between the orbits of different bodies. I highly recommend this book to people interested in the history of astronomy.
But fortunately there's a small handful of scientists who can write. Ivars Peterson is one of them, and I when I saw that he was the author, I knew right away that this was just the thing I needed for the 5 hours airport stopover that was ahead of me!