Subjects Freshman Year Reading African American Studies African Studies American Studies Anthropology Art, Film, Music and Architecture Asian Studies Business and Economics Criminology Education Environmental Studies Foreign Language Instructional Materials Gender Studies History Irish Studies Jewish Studies Latin American & Caribbean Studies Law and Legal Studies Literature and Drama Literature in Spanish Media Issues, Journalism and Communication Middle East Studies Native American Studies Philosophy Political Science Psychology Reference Religion Russian and Eastern European Studies Science and Mathematics Sociology Study Aids

E-Newsletters: Click here to be notified of new titles in your field
Click here to request Desk/Exam copies
Freshman Year Reading
View Our Award Winners
Click here to view our Catalogs
The Day We Found the Universe

The Day We Found the Universe

Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!

Order Exam Copy
E-Mail this Page Print this Page
Add This - The Day We Found the Universe

Written by Marcia BartusiakAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Marcia Bartusiak

  • Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon
  • On Sale: April 7, 2009
  • Price: $27.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-42429-8 (0-375-42429-6)
Also available as an eBook and a trade paperback.
about this book

From one of our most acclaimed science writers: a dramatic narrative of the discovery of the true nature and startling size of the universe, delving back past the moment of revelation to trace the decades of work--by a select group of scientists--that made it possible.

On January 1, 1925, thity-five-year-old Edwin Hubble announced findings that ultimately established that our universe was a thousand trillion times larger than previously believed, filled with myriad galaxies like our own. It was a realization that reshaped how humans understood their place in the cosmos. Six years later, continuing research by Hubble and others forced Albert Einstein to renounce his own cosmic model and finally accept the astonishing fact that the universe was not immobile but instead expanding. The story of these interwoven discoveries includes battles of will, clever insights, and wrong turns made by the early investigators in this great twentieth-century pursuit, from the luminaries (Einstein, Hubble, Harlow Shapley) to the lesser known: Henrietta Leavitt, who discovered the means to measure the vast dimensions of the cosmos . . . Vesto Slipher, the first and unheralded discoverer of the universe’s expansion . . . Georges Lemaître, the Jesuit priest who correctly interpreted Einstein’s theories in relation to the universe . . . Milton Humason, who, with only an eighth-grade education, became a world-renowned expert on galaxy motions . . . and others.

Here is the watershed moment in our cosmic history, splendidly arising from the exceptional combination of human curiosity, intelligence, and enterprise.

“Most who think of the 1920s think of flappers, gangsters, and the start of the Great Depression. But astrophysicists remember the decade as the birth of modern cosmology. A time rich with colorful characters and stunning revelations of our place in the universe, Marcia Bartusiak brings this explosive period of cosmic discovery to life.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History

"A brilliant look back into the history of science, Bartusiak opens the world of Hubble, Shapley, Rosse, and the other great astronomers on whose shoulders we now stand. Her vibrant book opens a door to a far-off time and place, and brings that place to life for us." —David H. Levy, President of the National Sharing the Sky Foundation

“We live in an expanding universe, and our Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies--now-standard facts established in the 1920s and 1930s. Marcia Bartusiak gives a vivid impression of what it was like at that time to be an astronomer leading these cosmic explorations. Some, like Edwin Hubble, are familiar names today; others have been unduly ignored.  It is good to see their achievements acclaimed in this both scholarly and highly readable book.” —Martin Rees, Great Britain's Astronomer Royal and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at Cambridge University

“Marcia Bartusiak, one of our most thrilling science writers, has captured the excitement of the amazing years at the beginning of the 20th century when we truly discovered our universe. With a great cast of astronomers and physicists–from Lowell to Hale to Hubble to Einstein–this book is a cosmic delight.” —Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe

“Bartusiak's intelligent and engaging book may well become the standard popular account."–Washington Post

“Delivered with wit, clarity and occasional drama, Marcia Bartusiak's The Day We Found the Universe is a small wonder….A science writer of rare gifts…Bartusiak manages to convey the mind-bending complexity of the astronomers' task and the scope of the work while never losing sight of the human elements (fame, ego, pioneer spirit, competitive drive) that drive the pursuit."–San Francisco Chronicle

“This tale is not about breakthroughs. It focuses on the dramatic insights, sidesteps and missed opportunities, persistence, pride and bits of luck that accompany the scientific process….Bartusiak's account never gets boring and never feels anticlimactic. Instead, moments of drama and intimacy make the reader forget…the final outcome: the Milky Way is merely one of many stellar collections in a vast universe."–Science News

“[A] fascinating and accessible book.”–Boston Globe

“Bartusiak chronicles the cosmic explorations that helped make [Edwin] Hubble a star. A journalist specializing in science, she knows how to cut to the chase. Her account is informative, dramatic, and accessible….She sings songs to unsung heroes.”–Tulsa World