The Georgian Star: How William and Caroline Herschel by Michael Lemonick

By Michael Lemonick

“A brilliant, glossy reward to popular-science collections.”—Booklist
Trained as a musician, novice scientist William Herschel came upon foreign reputation after learning the planet Uranus in 1781. even though he's nonetheless top identified for this discovering, his partnership along with his sister Caroline yielded different groundbreaking paintings that has effects on how we see the realm this day. The Herschels made entire surveys of the evening sky, rigorously categorizing each noticeable item within the void. Caroline wrote an influential catalogue of nebulae, and William found infrared radiation. Veteran technological know-how author Michael D. Lemonick publications readers in the course of the depths of the sunlight process and into his subjects’ deepest lives: William constructed extraordinary theories approximately population of the sunlight; he procured an unheard-of wage for Caroline from King George III at the same time he hassled over the investment for a tremendous, forty-foot telescope; and the siblings feuded over William’s marriage yet finally reconciled.

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Extra info for The Georgian Star: How William and Caroline Herschel Revolutionized Our Understanding of the Cosmos

Sample text

You would think that given its importance, creativity would have a high priority among our concerns. And in fact there is a lot of lip service paid to it. But if we look at the reality, we see a different picture. Basic scientific research is minimized in favor of immediate practical applications. The arts are increasingly seen as dispensable luxuries that must prove their worth in the impersonal mass market. In one company after another, as downsizing continues, one hears CEOs report that this is not an age for innovators but for bookkeepers, not a climate for building and risking but for cutting expenses.

Yet many social scientists in the last hundred years have made it their task to expose the hypocrisy, self-delusion, and self-interest underlying human behavior traits that were never questioned scientifically before the end of the nineteenth century. Poets like Dante or Chaucer were of course intimately acquainted with the foibles of human nature. But it was not until Freud explained the possibility of repression, Marx argued the power of false consciousness, and sociobiologists showed how our actions are the outcome of selective pressures that we had systematic insights into why our reports about ourselves may be so deceptive.

There is nothing wrong with defining creativity this way, as long as we realize that this is not at all what the term originally was supposed to mean—namely, to bring into existence something genuinely new that is valued enough to be added to the culture. On the other hand, if we decide that social confirmation is necessary for something to be called creative, the definition must encompass more than the individual. What counts then is whether the inner certitude is validated by the appropriate experts—such as the editors of the publishing house in the case of far-out manuscripts, or other scientists in the case of cold fusion.

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