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Secrets of the Hoary Deep

A Personal History of Modern Astronomy

Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics

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The discovery of x-rays continues to have a profound and accelerating effect on the field of astronomy. It has opened the cosmos to exploration in ways previously unimaginable and fundamentally altered the methods for pursuing information about our solar system and beyond. Nobel Prize winner Riccardo Giacconi’s highly personal account of the birth and evolution of x-ray astronomy reveals the science, people, and institutional settings behind this incalculably important and deeply influential discipline.

Part history, part memoir, and part cutting-edge science, Secrets of the Hoary Deep is the…

The discovery of x-rays continues to have a profound and accelerating effect on the field of astronomy. It has opened the cosmos to exploration in ways previously unimaginable and fundamentally altered the methods for pursuing information about our solar system and beyond. Nobel Prize winner Riccardo Giacconi’s highly personal account of the birth and evolution of x-ray astronomy reveals the science, people, and institutional settings behind this incalculably important and deeply influential discipline.

Part history, part memoir, and part cutting-edge science, Secrets of the Hoary Deep is the tale of x-ray astronomy from its infancy through what can only be called its early adulthood. It also offers the companion story of how the tools, techniques, and practices designed to support and develop x-ray astronomy were transferred to optical, infrared, and radio astronomy, drastically altering the face of modern space exploration. Giacconi relates the basic techniques developed at American Science and Engineering and explains how, where, and by whom the science was advanced.

From the first Earth-orbiting x-ray satellite, Uhuru, to the opening of the Space Telescope Science Institute and the lift-off of the Hubble Space Telescope to the construction of the Very Large Telescope, Giaconni recounts the ways in which the management methods and scientific methodology behind successful astronomy projects came to set the standards of operations for all subsequent space- and Earth-based observatories. Along the way he spares no criticism and holds back no praise, detailing individual as well as institutional failures and successes, reflecting upon how far astronomy has come and how far it has yet to go.

Crisp, informative, and prognostic, Giacconi’s story will captivate, inspire, and, at times, possibly infuriate professional and amateur astronomers across the breadth of the field and at all stages of their personal and professional development.

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Secrets of the Hoary Deep

Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics

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Reviews

Reviews

There are no dull pages in this book. It is inspirational. Not only will it enthuse those embarking on a career in observational astrophysics, it will also encourage other astronomers toward the twilight of their astronomical endeavours to start typing their life histories into the word processor.

Woven throughout the narrative is a formulation of the core values that the author believes are central to any major scientific endeavor... both scientists and managers can learn by understanding the methodology that Giacconi applied with such resounding success.

Read this book; it tells of a career that spanned, and made, enormous changes in how we do science.

In-depth, engrossing account sure to fascinate lay readers and experts alike.

Giacconi offers his text not as an autobiography but as a history of contemporary astronomy illustrated by his own experiences... Giacconi's account is an important one.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
7
x
9
Pages
432
ISBN
9781421402062
Illustration Description
35 color photos, 32 halftones, 62 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
1. My Italian Roots
2. New World: The Fulbright Fellowship
3. Introducing X-Ray Astronomy
4. The First Celestial X-Ray Source: Discovering Sco X-1
5. Plans and Progress in X-Ray Astronomy
6. The

Preface
1. My Italian Roots
2. New World: The Fulbright Fellowship
3. Introducing X-Ray Astronomy
4. The First Celestial X-Ray Source: Discovering Sco X-1
5. Plans and Progress in X-Ray Astronomy
6. The First Orbiting X-Ray Observatory: Uhuru
7. Breakthrough: The Uhuru Results
8. Constructing X-Ray Telescopes: Overcoming Technical and Institutional Hurdles
9. Plans for Space and Realities on the Ground: LOXT, Einstein, and NASA
10. The Einstein Results: Observation Collides with Theory
11. Transition: From American Science and Engineering to Harvard
12. The Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Telescope Science Institute
13. Paradigm Shift: The Space Telescope Science Institute at Work
14. The Space Telescope Science Institute: Launch Readiness and Its Finest Hour
15. Science at the Space Telescope Science Institute
16. The European Southern Observatory
14. Building the Very Large Telescope
18. The Role of ESO in Major European Astronomy Programs
19. Radio Astronomy on the Radar
20. First Loves and Last Words
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Notes
Name Index
Subject Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Riccardo Giacconi

To physicists and astronomers, Riccardo Giacconi needs no introduction. A founding father of x-ray astronomy, he holds the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics and has won numerous other awards in physics and astronomy, including the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1982) and the National Medal of Science (2003). Giacconi was the first director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, served...