- Series: Astrophysics and Space Science Library (Book 381)
- Hardcover: 234 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 2012 edition (May 23, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3642275877
- ISBN-13: 978-3642275876
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,857,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Taking the Back off the Watch: A Personal Memoir (Astrophysics and Space Science Library) 2012th Edition
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“Gold discusses cosmology in three relatively brief sections of Taking the Back Off the Watch: A Personal Memoir. … Taking the Back Off the Watch is likely to prove a useful source for historians of science of the post-World War II period.” (Robert W. Smith, ISIS, Vol. 106 (2), June, 2015)
From the Back Cover
Thomas Gold (1920-2004) had a curious mind that liked to solve problems. He was one of the most remarkable astrophysicists in the second half of the twentieth century, and he attracted controversy throughout his career. Based on a full-length autobiography left behind by Thomas Gold, this book was edited by the astrophysicist and historian of science, Simon Mitton (University of Cambridge).
The book is a retrospective on Gold’s remarkable life. He fled from Vienna in 1933, eventually settling in England and completing an engineering degree at Trinity College in Cambridge. During the war, he worked on naval radar research alongside Fred Hoyle and Hermann Bondi – which, in an unlikely chain of events, eventually led to his working with them on steady-state cosmology. In 1968, shortly after their discovery, he provided the explanation of pulsars as rotating neutron stars.
In his final position at Cornell, he and his colleagues persuaded the US Defense Department to fund the conversion of the giant radio telescope at Arecibo in Puerto Rico into a superb instrument for radio astronomy. Gold’s interests covered physiology, astronomy, cosmology, geophysics, and engineering.
Written in an intriguing style and with an equally intriguing foreword by Freeman Dyson, this book constitutes an important historical document, made accessible to all those interested in the history of science.
Top customer reviews
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The book first of all offers us more about his scientific work, not to mention very interesting details of his life. We are likely familiar with his great explanations (pulsars = neutron stars), his less successful work (steady-state universe) and highly intriguing – and likely correct - ongoing ideas (abiogenic fossil fuels). These are important, but a much fuller picture of “lesser” (lesser - if you are Tommy Gold!) achievements are related. Such things as explaining the “double boom” or a sonic-boom, the eel in a glass helix (fun!), his active-feedback in hearing, moon-dust generated by the Earth’s magnetic shadow at full-moon, any one of which would have made most of us proud if we had thought them through ourselves. How did he get his mind around to those?
For his history, he is a good story teller. His WWII experiences are as first an “interned enemy alien” (Austrian at Cambridge) sent in error to Canada (there building a proper bathtub!) before returning to scientific war work and subsequently being given fake “RAF Wing Commander” cover in post-war information collection, are totally inveigling. His later battles (hard work and patience) with various bureaucracies (e.g., NASA) are too familiar to many of us.
Yes he took the back off a watch as a child. I did too, and shockingly, mine, like his “exploded” when he took out the main spring. He got his working again. I, despite a genetic advantage of a grandfather who was a watchmaker, lacked the necessary gumption. He had a special disposition. Bravo and then some.
Book production faults: Regrettably the book IS too expensive. (For some reason, the copy I got here at Amazon was a bargain at about $45.) The current $89 to $179 is going to hinder sales! Another “fault” of the book is the unexplainable inclusion of photos (that are interesting) but called out in the text in totally unrelated passages.