Hot off the press - The Telescope: A Short History


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Today, I'm pleased to say, sees the publication of a new book I've written on the history of the telescope. The book has been brought out in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and to mark the 400th anniversary of the invention (or at least the announcement) of the telescope in 1608.
I've tried to tell as broad a story as possible. So I've talked about the development of telescopes for astronomy and their huge impact in changing our conceptions of the universe but I've also looked at the more humble story of the hand-held telescopes and binoculars used for all sorts of things on land and at sea. If you think about it, after all, most of the telescopes ever made were for these more mundane purposes. Another aspect I've included is the cultural impact of the telescope, whether as a symbol in art and literature, or as an inspiration for science fiction and other writers and film-makers. So as well as Galileo, Newton and Hubble, you'll find Alfred Hitchcock, H.G. Wells and Virginia Woolf. And don't forget to look out for Tom Swift and his megascope space prober.
For those wanting to look even deeper into the telescope's history, you may also be interested in a forthcoming conference, The Long View, this July.