The Weather Experiment

The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future

Author: Peter Moore

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374711275

Category: Science

Page: 416

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A history of weather forecasting, and an animated portrait of the nineteenth-century pioneers who made it possible By the 1800s, a century of feverish discovery had launched the major branches of science. Physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy made the natural world explicable through experiment, observation, and categorization. And yet one scientific field remained in its infancy. Despite millennia of observation, mankind still had no understanding of the forces behind the weather. A century after the death of Newton, the laws that governed the heavens were entirely unknown, and weather forecasting was the stuff of folklore and superstition. Peter Moore's The Weather Experiment is the account of a group of naturalists, engineers, and artists who conquered the elements. It describes their travels and experiments, their breakthroughs and bankruptcies, with picaresque vigor. It takes readers from Irish bogs to a thunderstorm in Guanabara Bay to the basket of a hydrogen balloon 8,500 feet over Paris. And it captures the particular bent of mind—combining the Romantic love of Nature and the Enlightenment love of Reason—that allowed humanity to finally decipher the skies.
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American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World

Author: David Baron

Publisher: Liveright Publishing

ISBN: 1631490176

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 5183

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This “suspenseful narrative history” (Maureen Corrigan, NPR) brings to life the momentous eclipse that enthralled a nation and thrust American science onto the world stage. On a scorching July afternoon in 1878, at the dawn of the Gilded Age, the moon’s shadow descended on the American West, darkening skies from Montana Territory to Texas. This rare celestial event—a total solar eclipse—offered a priceless opportunity to solve some of the solar system’s most enduring riddles, and it prompted a clutch of enterprising scientists to brave the wild frontier in a grueling race to the Rocky Mountains. Acclaimed science journalist David Baron, long fascinated by eclipses, re-creates this epic tale of ambition, failure, and glory in a narrative that reveals as much about the historical trajectory of a striving young nation as it does about those scant three minutes when the blue sky blackened and stars appeared in mid-afternoon. Lauded as a “sweeping, compelling” (Wall Street Journal) work of science history, American Eclipse tells the story of the three tenacious and brilliant scientists who raced to Wyoming and Colorado to observe the rare event. Dedicating years of “exhaustive research to reconstruct a remarkable chapter of U.S. history” (Scientific American), award-winning writer David Baron brings to three-dimensional life these competitors—the planet-hunter James Craig Watson, pioneering astronomer Maria Mitchell, and the ambitious young inventor Thomas Edison—to thrillingly re-create the fierce jockeying of nineteenth-century American astronomy. With spellbinding accounts of train robberies and Indian skirmishes, the mythologized age of the Wild West comes alive as never before. An “enthralling” (Daniel Kevles) and magnificent portrayal of America’s dawn as a scientific superpower, American Eclipse depicts a young nation that looked to the skies to reveal its towering ambition and expose its latent genius.
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When Galleries Shake

Earthquake Damage Mitigation for Museum Collections

Author: Jerry Podany

Publisher: Getty Publications

ISBN: 160606522X

Category: Art

Page: 284

View: 3047

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Earthquakes pose myriad dangers to heritage collections worldwide. This book provides an accessible introduction to these dangers and to the methodologies developed at the Getty and other museums internationally for mitigating seismic vulnerability. Conceived as a primer and reference, this abundantly illustrated volume begins with an engaging overview of explanations for earthquakes from antiquity to the nineteenth century. A series of chapters then addresses our modern understanding of seismic events and approaches for mitigating the damage they cause to heritage collections, covering such subjects as earthquake measurement, hazard analysis, the response of buildings and collections to seismic events, mount making, and risk assessment; short sections by specialists in seismic engineering complement the main text throughout. Readers will find a range of effective seismic mitigation measures, from simple low-cost approaches to complex base-isolation techniques. In bridging the gap between seismologists and seismic engineers, on the one hand, and collections care professionals, on the other, this volume will be of interest to conservators, registrars, designers, mount makers, and others involved in the management and care of collections in museums and other cultural institutions.
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