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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 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.
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 as director general of the
European Southern Observatory from 1993 to 1999, and has been a professor
of physics and astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University since 1999.
(Extracted from the press release).
GENERAL TABLE OF CONTENTS
-1. My Italian Roots.
-2. New World: The Fulbright Felowship.
-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
-9. Plans for Space and Realities on the Ground: LOXT, Einstein, and NASA.
-10. The Einstein Results: Observation Collides with Theory.
-11. Transitions: From American Science and Engineering to Harvard.
-12. The Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Telescope Science Institute.
- -13. Paradigm Shifts: 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
- -16. The European Southern Observatory.
- -17. Building the Very Large Telescope.
- -18. The Role of ESO in Major European Astronomy
- -19. Radio Astronomy on the Radar.
- -20. First Loves and Last Words.
- -Acronyms and Abbreviations.