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The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe

(Paperback Edition)
by Thomas Levenson
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A short, charming, character-driven book on science that tells the story of the 50-year search by the world’s top scientists for the “missing” planet Vulcan and Albert Einstein’s remarkable proof of the Theory of Relativity, which once and for all proved that the planet never existed in the first place. November 2015 is the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s discovery of the General Theory of Relativity.

Levenson, head of MIT’s Science Writing Program, tells the captivating, unusual, and nearly-forgotten backstory behind Einstein’s invention of the Theory of Relativity, which completely changed the course of science forever. For over 50 years before Einstein developed his theory, the world’s top astronomers spent countless hours and energy searching for a planet, which came to be named Vulcan, that had to exist, it was thought, given Isaac Newton’s theories of gravity. Indeed, in the two centuries since Newton’s death, his theory had essentially become accepted as fact. It took Einstein’s genius to realize the mystery of the missing planet wasn’t a problem of measurements or math but of Newton’s theory of gravity itself. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proved that Vulcan did not and could not exist, and that the decades-long search for it had merely been a quirk of operating under the wrong set of assumptions about the universe. Thomas Levenson tells this unique story, one of the strangest episodes in the history of science, with elegant simplicity, fast-paced drama, and lively characters sure to capture the attention of a wide group of readers.


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More Information:
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781784973971

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