Solar eclipse in 1919

18 results back to index

pages: 412 words: 122,952

Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Cepheid variable, Copley Medal, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, horn antenna, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Occam's razor, Pluto: dwarf planet, Solar eclipse in 1919, William of Occam

World War I had kept Einstein's work from being widely circulated outside Germany, and when astronomers did hear of it, they weren't quite sure what to make of its unconventional and perplexing view of gravity. George Hale, like many astronomers at the time who were trained to observe rather than to tinker with mathematical equations, said he feared “it will always remain beyond my grasp.” All of that changed, though, once the findings of a British solar-eclipse expedition in 1919 transformed the name of Einstein, the former Swiss patent clerk, into a synonym for genius. At the time Einstein was working on general relativity, he had early on suggested a specific test that astronomers could perform to confirm his predicted curvatures in space-time: Photograph a field of stars at night, then for comparison photograph those same stars when they pass near the Sun's limb during a solar eclipse.

In 1911 he computed a bending of 0.83 arcseconds, the same arising from Newton's laws alone. But a few years later, once his final theory was in place, Einstein doubled his predicted bending. The extra contribution, Einstein figured out, occurs due to the Sun's enormous mass warping space-time. He calculated that a stellar ray just grazing the Sun would get deflected by 1.7 arcseconds (a thousandth the width of the Moon). Three solar-eclipse expeditions were launched prior to 1919 to detect this light bending but were unsuccessful due to either bad weather or the ongoing war. The results of a fourth effort, an American endeavor led by Lick astronomers W. W. Campbell and Heber Curtis, were plagued by data comparison problems and so were never published. That was a fortunate turn of events for Einstein. The shaky American results went against him, and some of the other expeditions were carried out when his theory, not yet fully developed, was predicting that smaller, incorrect deflection.

pages: 339 words: 112,979

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law

from 'Remembering Richard Feynman', The Skeptical Inquirer (1988) Newton's dissection of the rainbow into light of different wavelengths led on to Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism and thence to Einstein's theory of special relativity. If you think the rainbow has poetic mystery, you should try relativity. Einstein himself openly made aesthetic judgements in science, and perhaps went too far. 'The most beautiful thing we can experience,' he said, 'is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.' Sir Arthur Eddington, whose own scientific writings were noted for poetic flair, used the solar eclipse of 1919 to test General Relativity and returned from Principe Island to announce, in Banesh Hoffmann's phrase, that Germany was host to the greatest scientist of the age. I read those words with a catch in the throat, but Einstein himself took the triumph in his stride. Any other result and he would have been 'sorry for the dear Lord. The theory is correct.' Isaac Newton made a private rainbow in a dark room.

pages: 326 words: 97,089

Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings


Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Colonization of Mars, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, index card, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, music of the spheres, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, planetary scale, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, Solar eclipse in 1919, technological singularity, the scientific method, transcontinental railway

He wanted to create a telescope that would surpass all others, one with a magnifying lens nearly a million and a half kilometers in diameter. Drake had found a way to transform the Sun itself into the ultimate telescope. A consequence of the Sun’s immense mass is that it acts as a star-size “gravitational lens,” bending and amplifying light that grazes its surface. This effect, first measured during a solar eclipse in 1919 by the astronomer Arthur Eddington, was one of the key pieces of evidence that validated Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Simple math and physics, judiciously applied, show that our star bends light into a narrow beam aligned with the center of the Sun and the center of any far-distant light source. As first calculated by the Stanford radio astronomer Von Eshleman in 1979, the beam comes into focus at a point beginning some 82 billion kilometers (51 billion miles) away from the Sun, nearly fourteen times farther out than the orbit of Pluto, and extends outward into infinity.

pages: 287 words: 87,204

Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution by John Gribbin


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Arthur Eddington, British Empire, Brownian motion, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Solar eclipse in 1919, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, trade route, upwardly mobile

Schrödinger’s research in Graz was also the kind of thing that Grand Old Men with established reputations, tenured posts, and guaranteed pensions indulge in. He became fascinated by the cosmological ideas of Arthur Eddington (1882–1944), a British Grand Old Man whose illustrious career had included explaining the general theory of relativity to the English-speaking world and testing Einstein’s theory by making observations of the stars during a solar eclipse in 1919. He was a great popularizer of science, and intrigued by the puzzle of how to reconcile the general theory with quantum mechanics. But by the 1930s he was in his scientific dotage. He had recently come up with a complicated hypothesis claiming to link cosmology with quantum theory and containing as a crucial ingredient (in what he called the “fundamental relation”) a calculation of the number of particles in the Universe, N.

pages: 1,396 words: 245,647

The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom by Graham Farmelo


Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, gravity well, Henri Poincaré, invention of radio, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, strikebreaker, University of East Anglia

Robert 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 personality 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 dislike of Cambridge life 1 clinical depression 1, 2 tries to poison Blackett 1 works with PD 1 friendship with PD 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 at Born’s Department of Theoretical Physics 1 poetry 1 Ph.D. on the quantum mechanics of molecules 1, 2 and the rise of anti-Semitism 1 disappointed with PD’s work in Göttingen 1 at University of California at Berkeley 1, 2 and PD’s hole theory 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 on the Heisenberg-Pauli theory 1 and Anderson’s positive electron 1 quantum electrodynamics 1 Scientific Director of the Manhattan Project 1, 2, 3, 4 celebrated as a hero in the USA 1 director of the Institute for Advanced Study 1 former Communist sympathies 1 adviser on nuclear policy 1 US withdraws his security clearance 1 appearance 1 retirement and death 1 and black holes 1 Orpington, south-east London 1 Orwell, George 1, 2, 3 Coming Up for Air 1 The Lion and the Unicorn 1 Oseen, Carl 1 Ottawa 1 Oxford 1 Pais, Abraham 1, 2n24 Subtle is the Lord 1n20 Palais de la Découverte, La, Paris 1, 2 pantheism 1 Papal Academy 1, 2, 3 parity violation 1, 2 particle accelerators 1, 2 particle physics 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Pauli, Wolfgang 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14n33 an analytical conservative analyst 1 exclusion principle 1, 2 personality 1 and electron spin 1 PD’s harshest critic 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Second Principle 1 praises PD’s textbook 1 and PD’s hole theory 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 co-presents seminar with PD at Princeton 1 appearance 1 the neutrino 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 problems in his personal life 1 second marriage 1 quarrels with Heisenberg 1 Nobel Prize 1 death 1, 2 Pavlov, Ivan 1 ‘Peanuts’ 1 Pearl Harbor, bombing of 1 Peierls, Genia 1 Peierls, Rudolf 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14n12, 15n10 Penrose, Roger 1 Peterhouse College, Cambridge 1 Phillips, Leslie Roy 1, 2n4, 3n26, 4n31 philosophy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Phoney War 1, 2 photography, amateur 1 photons 1 and Einstein 1 and Langer 1 light consisting of 1, 2, 3n20 scattering by a single electron 1 stimulated emission process and the laser 1 Picasso, Pablo 1, 2 Pickering, Arthur 1, 2, 3 Pincher, Chapman 1, 2n44 Pippard, Brian 1 Planck, Max quantum hypothesis 1, 2, 3 blackbody radiation spectrum 1, 2 Planck’s constant 1, 2 Plato 1 Podolsky, Boris 1, 2, 3n25 Poisson bracket 1, 2, 3n40 Poland Hitler’s invasion of 1 collapse of 1 Manci’s view of Poles 1 Polkinghorne, John 1, 2 Poncelet, Jean-Victor 1 Portishead, Bristol 1, 2, 3 Portland Street Chapel, Bristol 1 position and momentum symbols 1, 2 positive energy states 1 positivism 1, 2 positron emission tomography (PET) 1, 2 positrons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12n34 see also anti-electrons Pottier family 1n16 Pravda 1, 2 ‘primitive atom’ theory 1, 2 Princeton 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Princeton University 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8n50 bicentennial celebrations 1 Fine Hall (later Jones Hall) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Fuld Hall 1, 2 Graduate College 1 Proceedings of the Royal Society 1 projective geometry 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7n5 protons atomic nuclei 1 negative 1 strongly interacting 1 Pryce, Gritli (née Born) 1 Pryce, Maurice 1, 2, 3 pulsars 1 Punch magazine 1 Pythagoras’s theorem 1 quanta 1 energy 1, 2 Schrödinger’s wave theory 1 see also photons quantum chromodynamics 1 quantum electrodynamics 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 quantum field theory 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 see also quantum electrodynamics and quantum chromodynamics quantum jumps 1, 2n24 quantum mechanics 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 named by Born 1 birthplace of 1 building of the complete theory 1 first prediction of 1 mathematical symbols in 1, 2 central role of probability 1 relationship with classical mechanics 1, 2 relativistic 1 and miniaturisation 1 quantum numbers 1, 2 quantum theory discovered by Planck 1 Einstein lays its foundations 1 laws of 1 PD introduces the mathematics of creation and annihilation 1 the universe as fundamentally granular 1 quarks 1, 2, 3, 4 quaternions 1, 2, 3 Queen Mary (liner) 1 Rabi, Isidor 1 radiation electromagnetic 1, 2, 3 gravitational 1 radio 1, 2, 3 radioactive decay 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Rain Man (film) 1 Ramond, Pierre 1, 2, 3n1 Reagan, Ronald 1 Redlands Girls’ School, Bristol 1 reductionism 1 relativity 1, 2, 3, 4 as PD’s passion 1, 2 Broad’s teaching of 1 Einstein’s general theory 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 n32, 27n35 Einstein’s special theory 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20n10 Hassé speaks on the subject at Cambridge 1 Rembrandt van Rijn 1 renormalisation 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10n29 Retherford, Robert 1 Reynolds’s Illustrated News 1 Richards, Sir Gordon 1 Riemann, Bernhard 1, 2 Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 1 Robertson, Andrew 1 Robertson, David 1, 2, 3, 4 Robertson, Howard 1 Robertson, Malcolm 1 Robeson, Paul 1 Roentgen Institute, Leningrad 1 Rolls-Royce 1, 2n1 Röntgen, Wilhelm 1 Roosevelt, Eleanor 1 Roosevelt, Franklin D. 1, 2, 3, 4 Roselawn cemetery, Tallahassee 1 Rosen, Nathan 1 Rosenfeld, Léon 1 Rothschild, Victor, Lord 1n51 ‘Roundy’ (Joseph Coughlin) 1 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 1, 2 Royal Air Force 1, 2, 3 Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London 1n16 Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 82, 1, 2 Royal Navy 1, 2 Royal Society 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 PD elected a Fellow 1 funds the Mond Laboratory 1 Baker Medal 1 and Heisenberg 1, 2n33 and Schrödinger 1 Royal Society of Scotland 1 Rugby, Warwickshire 1, 2 Russell, Bertrand 1 ‘Zahatopolk’ 1n6 Rutherford, Ernest, Baron Rutherford of Nelson 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and Eddington 1, 2 personality 1, 2, 3, 4 appearance 1 discovery of the atomic nucleus 1, 2 proposes the neutron 1, 2 director of the Cavendish Laboratory 1 Kapitza’s nickname for him (‘the Crocodile’) 1 and Kapitza’s support of Communism 1 and Bohr 1, 2 relationship with Kapitza 1, 2 loathes Bernal 1, 2 ennobled 1 death of his daughter 1 and Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron 1 and the Cockcroft-Walton splitting of the atom 1 leadership of Cambridge experimental physicists 1 Blackett’s anger at his despotic style 1 bottom-up approach to physics 1 bas-relief in the Mond Laboratory 1 stays in Bohr’s mansion 1n47 and Kapitza’s detention 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and PD’s marriage 1 on Eddington 1 death 1 memorial service at Westminster Abbey 1, 2 St John’s College, Cambridge 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 PD unable to take up a place at (1921) 1, 2 PD wins two scholarships (1923) 1 PD arrives at 1 described 1, 2, 3 encourages PD to apply for a Fellowship 1 awards PD a special lectureship 1, 2n36 Tamm’s visit (1931) 1 Born’s honorary position 1 Combination Room 1, 2, 3, 4 Fellowship extended for life 1 Isenstein bust of PD 1 PD’s last visit to 1 first women undergraduates 1 nurturing environment for PD 1 PD apologises for absence at eightieth birthday celebrations 1n66 PD’s Nobel Medal and certificate returned 1n37 St Maurice, Switzerland 1, 2n16 Sakharov, Andrei 1 Salam, Abdus 1, 2, 3, 4 Salaman, Esther and Myer 1, 2, 3n24 scattering matrix 1, 2 Schnabel, Artur 1 Schönberg, Arnold 1, 2, 3n15 Schrödinger, Annemarie (Anny) 1, 2, 3 Schrödinger, Erwin 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7n8 his quantum theory 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 reputation as a polymath 1 wave mechanics 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 visits the Bohr Institute 1 Nobel Prize for physics 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 personality 1 a refugee in Oxford 1 affirms his loyalty to the Nazi regime 1, 2, 3 accepts Dublin post 1 Dublin conference (1942) 1 elected to the Royal Society 1 death 1 PD’s obituary 1, 2n56 Schrödinger’s equation 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Schuster, Arthur 1 Schwarz, John 1 Schwinger, Julian 1 Science journal 1, 2 Science Museum, London 1, 2 Scientific American 1, 2n10 Scott lecture 1, 2 Second Physics Institute, Göttingen 1 Second World War Chamberlain declares war on Germany 1 Cambridge 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 blitzkrieg of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands 1 end of the war in Europe 1 Seiberg, Nathan 1 Sen, Colleen Taylor 1n35 Shakespeare, William 1, 2 Hamlet 1, 2, 3 Love’s Labour’s Lost 1 Richard II 1 Shankland, Robert 1 Shaw, George Bernard 1 Getting Married 1, 2 – Preface 1 The Irrational Knot 1 Shelter Island Conference, Long Island, New York (1947) 1 Shinyo Maru (steamer) 1 Sidgwick, Henry 1n53 Silver Lake, near Tallahassee 1 Simon, Sir Francis 1 Simpsons, The 1, 2n8 Sinatra, Frank 1, 2n48 Skye, Isle of 1 Slater, John 1, 2, 3n8 Sliger, Bernie 1 Snow, C. P. 1 The Search 1, 2n51 Social-Democratic Workers’ Party 1 Socialist Society 1 sociology 1 solar-eclipse experiments (1919) 1, 2, 3, 4 Solvay Conferences 1927 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 1930 1 1933 1 1961 1 Sommerfeld, Arnold: Atomic Structure and Spectral Lines 1 Sound of Music, The (film) 1 Soviet Academy of Sciences 1, 2, 3 Soviet Conference on Nuclear Physics (Leningrad, 1933) 1 Soviet Embassy, Washington 1 Soviet Union PD’s first visit 1, 2 PD’s second visit 1 and the British press 1, 2 the Soviet experiment 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 the Jazz Band 1, 2 PD falls foul of the censors 1 PD’s support for Soviet physics 1 PD attends Leningrad conference (1933) 1 PD unaware of the cost of the collectivisation programme 1 PD in Bolshevo 1, 2 Great Purge 1 trials in 1 Nazi invasion of 1 PD and colleagues refused visas by Churchill 1 Fuchs passes secrets to 1 early detonation of the Soviet nuclear weapon 1 Sputnik missions 1 space programme 1 Cuban crisis 1 space-time curved 1, 2, 3 and de Sitter 1 more than four dimensions of 1 special theory of relativity 1 unified 1 Spanish Civil War (1936 ) 1 Spender, Stephen Journals 1n38 World Within World 1 Spielberg, Steven 1 spinors 1 spintronics 1 Spinoza, Baruch 1 Sputnik missions 1 SS 1 Stalin, Joseph 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 rise to absolute power 1 industrialisation policy 1, 2 collective farming programme 1 interviewed in New Statesman 1 and the intelligentsia 1 attitude to science 1, 2 Cambridge students favour over Hitler 1 his government becomes more repressive 1 non-aggression pact with Hitler 1, 2 and Kapitza 1, 2 death 1 Khrushchev denounces 1 Stalingrad 1 Standard Model 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Stanford, Henry King 1, 2 Stanford University 1 Star Trek 1, 2, 3 n8 Start the Week (Radio 1 programme) 2 steady-state theory 1, 2 Stockholm, Sweden 1, 2, 3 Stockman, Gertrude 1 Stokes, Sir George 1 Stony Brook, New York 1n6 Stoppard, Tom: Arcadia 1 Strassman, Fritz 1 Strategic Defence (‘Star Wars’) Initiative 1 stress diagrams 1, 2n54 string theory 1, 2, 3, 4n27 strings 1, 2 strong interaction 1, 2, 3 subatomic particle accelerators 1 Sudarshan, George 1n31 Suez crisis (1956) 1 Sunday Dispatch 1 Svenska Dagbladet 1, 2 Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver’s Travels 1 Swirles, Bertha 1n15 Switzerland, PD visits 1, 2 Szilárd, Leó 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ’t Hooft, Gerard 1 Tallahassee, Florida 1, 2, 3, 4 Tallahassee Democrat 1 Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Florida 1, 2 Tamm, Igor 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 at Leiden 1 personality 1 politics 1 first Soviet theoretician to use quantum mechanics 1 friendship with PD 1 meets up with PD in Moscow 1 and PD’s hole theory 1, 2 on ‘brigade education’ 1 and the positron’s detection 1 in Bolshevo 1 climbing vacation in the USSR with PD 1, 2 secret project to build the hydrogen bomb 1 Nobel Prize 1 Tata Institute, Bombay 1, 2n30 technical drawing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5n40, 6n44 Teller, Edward 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9n12 Tennyson, Alfred, Lord 1 Teszler, Betty (PD’s sister) see Dirac, Beatrice Teszler, Christine (PD’s niece) 1, 2n29 Teszler, Joe 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6n34 Teszler, Roger (PD’s nephew) 1, 2, 3 Thatcher, Margaret, Baroness 1, 2, 3 theoretical physics 1, 2 Berlin as its global capital 1 PD introduces a new approach to 1 Weyl’s approach 1 Thomson, J.

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The Music of the Primes by Marcus Du Sautoy


Ada Lovelace, Andrew Wiles, Arthur Eddington, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, computer age, Dava Sobel, Dmitri Mendeleev, Eratosthenes, Erdős number, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, German hyperinflation, global village, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, music of the spheres, New Journalism, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Turing machine, William of Occam, Wolfskehl Prize, Y2K

In this two-dimensional geometry there are no parallel lines of longitude since they all meet at the poles. No one had contemplated the idea that three-dimensional space might also bend. We realise now that Gauss was working on too small a scale to observe any significant bending of space to counter the view of a Euclidean world. Arthur Eddington’s confirmation of the bending of light from stars during the solar eclipse of 1919 supported Gauss’s hunch. Gauss never went public with his ideas, perhaps because his new geometries seemed to be at variance with the task of mathematics, which was to represent physical reality. The friends he did mention his idea to, Gauss pledged to secrecy. The idea of these new geometries was eventually floated publicly in the 1830s by the Russian Nikolai Ivanovic Lobachevsky and the Hungarian János Bolyai.

pages: 778 words: 227,196

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes


Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, British Empire, Copley Medal, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Etonian, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Harrison: Longitude, music of the spheres, placebo effect, polynesian navigation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade route, unbiased observer, University of East Anglia, éminence grise

It also returns in a new way to Davy’s early Cornish beliefs about starlight as the source of all energy in the universe: Nothing is lost; the ethereal fire, Which from the farthest star descends, Through the immensity of space Its course by worlds attracted bends, To reach the earth; the eternal laws Preserve one glorious wise design; Order amidst confusion flows And all the system is divine. If matter cannot be destroyed, Then living mind can never die; If e’en creative when alloy’d, How sure is immortality!70 Intriguingly, the first stanza appears to anticipate Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (1915), in which light is ‘bent’ by gravity; and then Eddington’s observations of a solar eclipse in 1919, when he recorded starlight actually being bent by the sun. But apparent anticipations of this kind can be deceptive in science, often hiding a more significant contemporary meaning. Here Davy was really expressing a more traditional belief: the sudden confidence that ‘eternal laws’ govern the universe in a benign and ordered way. In fact this view was largely at odds with the scepticism of his private journals.

pages: 661 words: 169,298

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, delayed gratification, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Gary Taubes, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Karl Jansky, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, planetary scale, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Wilhelm Olbers

General relativity explained a precession in the orbit of the planet Mercury that had been left unaccounted for in Newtonian mechanics, and he did not doubt it would survive further tests as well. As he wrote his friend Besso, “I am fully satisfied, and I do not doubt any more the correctness of the whole system…. The sense of the thing is too evident.”41 The wider scientific community, however, awaited the verdict of experiment. There would be a total solar eclipse on May 29, 1919, at which time the sun would stand against the bright stars of the Hyades cluster. The English astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington led an expedition to a cocoa plantation on Principe Island off west Equatorial Africa to observe the eclipse and see whether the predicted curvature of space in the region of the sun would distort the apparent positions of the stars in the briefly darkened sky.

pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson


Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

pages: 257 words: 66,480

Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System by Ray Jayawardhana


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, cosmic abundance, dark matter, Edmond Halley, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Louis Pasteur, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Solar eclipse in 1919

Instead of the Newtonian idea of gravity as an attractive force, he conceptualized gravity as geometry: a massive object warps the fabric of space-time around it. That means light, instead of traveling in a straight line, takes a curved path in its vicinity. Einstein’s equations predicted by just how much the light’s path would bend. The stunning confrmation came four years later. A total solar eclipse was to take place on May 29, 1919. Conveniently, it would occur in front of a rich cluster of stars known as the Hyades, offering an excellent opportunity to measure any defection of starlight by the Sun’s gravity. Less conveniently, the total eclipse could only be seen from the tropics. So the English astrophysicist Arthur Eddington mounted an expedition to the island of Principe, off the west coast of Africa, while another group set sail for Brazil.

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Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland


Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy

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