Sky in a Bottle
By (author) Peter Pesic
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Sky in a Bottle by Peter Pesic
Book DescriptionChildren ask, "Why is the sky blue?" but the question also puzzled Plato, Leonardo, and even Newton, who unlocked so many other secrets. The search for an answer continued for centuries; in 1862 Sir John Herschel listed the color and polarization of sky light as "the two great standing enigmas of meteorology." In Sky in a Bottle, Peter Pesic takes us on a quest to the heart of this mystery, tracing the various attempts of science, history, and art to solve it. He begins with the scholars of the ancient world and continues through the natural philosophers of the Enlightenment, the empiricists of the scientific revolution, and beyond. The cast of characters includes Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Kepler, Descartes, Euler, Saussure, Goethe, Rayleigh, and Einstein; but the protagonist is the question itself, and the story tells how we have tried to answer it. Pesic's odyssey introduces us to central ideas of chemistry, optics, and atomic physics. He describes the polarization of light, Rayleigh scattering, and connections between the appearance of the sky and Avogadro's number. He discusses changing representations of the sky in art, from new styles of painting to new pigments that created new colors for paint. He considers what the sky's nighttime brightness might tell us about the size and density of the universe. And Pesic asks another, daring, question: Can we put the sky in a bottle? Can we recreate and understand its blueness here on earth? This puzzle, he says, opens larger perspectives; questions of the color and brightness of the sky touch on secrets of matter and light, the scope of the universe in space and time, the destiny of the earth, and deep human feelings.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780262662000
(203mm x 136mm x 15mm)
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 9-Mar-2007
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Peter Pesic
Levels of Infinity, Paperback (March 2013)
Original anthology features less-technical essays discussing logic, topology, abstract algebra, relativity theory, and the works of David Hilbert. Most have been long unavailable or previously unpublished in book form. 2012 edition.
Mind and Nature, Hardback (March 2009)
A collection of the author's general writings on philosophy, mathematics, and physics. It includes the author's exposition of his synthesis of electromagnetism and gravitation.
Beyond Geometry, Paperback (January 2007)» View all books by Peter Pesic
This is the only English-language collection of these 8 accessible essays. They trace seminal ideas about the foundations of geometry that led to Einstein's general theory of relativity.
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Author Biography - Peter Pesic
Peter Pesic is Tutor and Musician-in-Residence at St. John's College, Santa Fe. He is the author of Labyrinth: A Search for the Hidden Meaning of Science; Seeing Double: Shared Identities in Physics, Philosophy, and Literature; Abel's Proof: An Essay on the Sources and Meaning of Mathematical Unsolvability; and Sky in a Bottle, all published by the MIT Press.
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