By Biman B. Nath
What if essentially the most exciting tales within the historical past of technological know-how became out to be flawed? Can city legends creep into the hallowed grounds of clinical background? As outstanding because it could sound, the tale of 1 of an important components nowa days – helium - has been usually misrepresented in books, encyclopedias, and on-line resources, even though archival fabrics inform a unique tale. Open the access for Helium in any encyclopaedia and you'll learn a fake tale that has been repeated through the years. ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’, for instance, says that helium used to be came upon via the French astronomer Pierre Janssen whereas looking at a complete sunlight eclipse from India in 1868. it seems that he spotted whatever new within the spectrum of the solar, which he inspiration used to be the signature of an undiscovered aspect.
The fact is that Janssen by no means observed any signal of a brand new aspect in the course of his observations in India. His stories and letters don't point out the sort of declare.
Other assets might have you ever think that helium was once together stumbled on through Janssen and Norman Lockyer, a British scientist, and that their discovery letters reached Paris a similar day, one despatched from India, and the opposite from England.
Again, in actual fact different. letters from Lockyer and Janssen did succeed in Paris an identical day in 1868, yet their letters didn't point out any new point. What that they had chanced on was once a brand new method of looking at the sunlight with out a sun eclipse. this is able to eventually bring about the invention of helium, during which Lockyer could play a well-known function, yet now not Janssen.
At an identical time, Norman Robert Pogson, a disgruntled British astronomer stationed in India did become aware of anything abnormal through the eclipse. He was once the 1st one to note anything ordinary concerning the spectrum of the solar that day, and his observations might end up an important to Lockyer’s personal investigations of helium. yet Pogson’s file was once by no means released in any peer reviewed magazine and it languished at the table of a neighborhood British officer in colonial India.
This e-book tells the true tale at the back of the invention of helium, in addition to biographical sketches of the scientists and outlines of the milieu within which they labored. it is going to express the buzz, confusion, and keenness of 19th century scientists, utilizing their very own phrases, from their letters and stories.
“The tale of Helium and the beginning of Astrophysics” chronicles some of the most interesting discoveries ever made and explains why it additionally marked the start of a brand new department of technological know-how known as ‘astrophysics.’
Read or Download The Story of Helium and the Birth of Astrophysics (Astronomers' Universe) PDF
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