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-Title: Secrets of the Hoary Deep: A Personal History of Modern Astronomy.
Ricardo Giacconi.
The Johns Hopkins University Press.
16 + 416
B/W and colour photos and graphics.
-Publication Date:
May 14, 2008.
-ISBN: 0801888093

Front Cover

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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).



-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 Hurdles.
-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 Institute.
-16. The European Southern Observatory.
-17. 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.
-Name Index.
-Subject Index.


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