Catalogue


Walter Baade : a life in astrophysics /
Donald E. Osterbrock.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2001.
description
xii, 270 p. : ill.
ISBN
069104936X
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2001.
isbn
069104936X
catalogue key
4595838
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Donald E. Osterbrock is Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and former Director of the Lick Observatory.
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Osterbrock's narrative and the arguments that pervade it advance an original interpretation of one of the twentieth century's most significant astronomers. Based on extensive research in the archives, this biography of Walter Baade is an impressive contribution to the history of astronom."-- Karl Hufbauer, author of Exploring the Sun
Flap Copy
"Osterbrock's narrative and the arguments that pervade it advance an original interpretation of one of the twentieth century's most significant astronomers. Based on extensive research in the archives, this biography of Walter Baade is an impressive contribution to the history of astronom."--Karl Hufbauer, author of Exploring the Sun
Flap Copy
"Osterbrock's narrative and the arguments that pervade it advance an original interpretation of one of the twentieth century's most significant astronomers. Based on extensive research in the archives, this biography ofWalter Baadeis an impressive contribution to the history of astronom."--Karl Hufbauer, author ofExploring the Sun
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2001-11-01:
Baade was perhaps the preeminent observational astronomer in the middle third of the 20th century. He put to best use the many hours he spent with the giant reflecting telescopes at the Mt. Wilson and Mt. Palomar observatories and made the crucial discovery that there are two stellar populations in the universe old stars and new stars. This, in turn, allowed astrophysicists to work out coherent theories of stellar and galactic evolution. Baade was on friendly terms with nearly all of the leaders in the world astronomical community, although he was a lifelong loyal citizen of Germany, even during the Nazi era. Osterbrock, himself a distinguished astrophysicist and author of Yerkes Observatory, 1892-1950, knew Baade personally and has written a solid biography of him. His descriptions of Baade's work are at a moderately technical level; readers with reasonable knowledge of modern astronomy will benefit most from this work. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. Jack W. Weigel, formerly with Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2002-02-01:
Osterbrock (emer., astronomy and astrophysics, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz; former director, Lick Observatory) has written a biography of German-American astronomer Baade, one of the leaders of his field in the 20th century. Baade dominated his specialty of observational stellar astrophysics, having discovered the original two stellar populations that were differentiated mostly by their ages. He is also known for his recalibration of the size and age of the universe, bringing it into line with geological evidence of Earth's age. This book is as much a review of mid-century stellar and galactic astrophysics as is it a portrayal of Baade's life. The book will interest those with a commitment to astronomy and a familiarity with its argot and parlance. It provides a nontechnical review of observational research with the large telescopes at Mount Wilson and Palomar. Baade was an innovative and tireless observer as well as a raconteur and a supportive senior colleague to many; his story should interest celestial observers at all levels. Acronyms and terms familiar to astronomers but unknown outside the field are not always defined. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. A. R. Upgren Wesleyan University
Reviews
Review Quotes
Osterbrock's narrative and the arguments that pervade it advance an original interpretation of one of the twentieth century's most significant astronomers. Based on extensive research in the archives, this biography ofWalter Baadeis an impressive contribution to the history of astronom.
Walter Baade was one of the key players in mid-20th Century astrophysics and this biography by Donald Osterbrock is welcome and timely. . . . His story is a fascinating one, well told and nicely illustrated with contemporary photographs.
"Walter Baade was one of the key players in mid-20th Century astrophysics and this biography by Donald Osterbrock is welcome and timely. . . . His story is a fascinating one, well told and nicely illustrated with contemporary photographs."-- David Strickland, The Observatory
Walter Baade was one of the key players in mid-20th Century astrophysics and this biography by Donald Osterbrock is welcome and timely. . . . His story is a fascinating one, well told and nicely illustrated with contemporary photographs. -- David Strickland, The Observatory
"Baade was arguably the most influential observational astronomer of the 20th century. . . . Donald Osterbrock . . . meticulously documents Baade's life and work, with references to correspondence from more than 20 archives. . . . He has focused on hitherto unknown or overlooked facts, shown why they are important, and created a new understanding. This is the essence of good history."-- Norriss S. Hetherington, Physics Today
Baade was arguably the most influential observational astronomer of the 20th century. . . . Donald Osterbrock . . . meticulously documents Baade's life and work, with references to correspondence from more than 20 archives. . . . He has focused on hitherto unknown or overlooked facts, shown why they are important, and created a new understanding. This is the essence of good history. -- Norriss S. Hetherington, Physics Today
A gripping story told by an accomplished astronomer. -- Neil English, Astronomy Now
A well-written and meticulously researched biography. . . . It paints a picture of an innovative, hard working scientist who spent his whole life at the forefront of astronomical observation.
"A well-written and meticulously researched biography. . . . It paints a picture of an innovative, hard working scientist who spent his whole life at the forefront of astronomical observation."-- John Masters, Astronomy & Space
A well-written and meticulously researched biography. . . . It paints a picture of an innovative, hard working scientist who spent his whole life at the forefront of astronomical observation. -- John Masters, Astronomy & Space
Baade was arguably the most influential observational astronomer of the 20th century. . . . Donald Osterbrock . . . meticulously documents Baade's life and work, with references to correspondence from more than 20 archives. . . . He has focused on hitherto unknown or overlooked facts, shown why they are important, and created a new understanding. This is the essence of good history.
"A delightfully engaging account of Baade's life and times, and a welcome addition to the history of 20th century astronomy. A fascinating account of Baade's life, accomplishments, and perhaps most interestingly, his times."-- S. Alan Stern, Astronomy
A delightfully engaging account of Baade's life and times, and a welcome addition to the history of 20th century astronomy. A fascinating account of Baade's life, accomplishments, and perhaps most interestingly, his times. -- S. Alan Stern, Astronomy
A gripping story told by an accomplished astronomer.
"A gripping story told by an accomplished astronomer."-- Neil English, Astronomy Now
A delightfully engaging account of Baade's life and times, and a welcome addition to the history of 20th century astronomy. A fascinating account of Baade's life, accomplishments, and perhaps most interestingly, his times.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, November 2001
Booklist, December 2001
Choice, February 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Although less well known outside the field than Edwin Hubble, Walter Baade was arguably the most influential observational astronomer of the twentieth century. Written by a fellow astronomer deeply familiar with Baade and his work, this is the first biography of this major figure in American astronomy. In it, Donald Osterbrock suggests that Baade's greatest contribution to astrophysics was not, as is often contended, his revision of Hubble's distance and age scales for the universe. Rather, it was his discovery of two distinct stellar populations: old and young stars. This discovery opened wide the previously marginal fields of stellar and galactic evolution--research areas that would be among the most fertile and exciting in all of astrophysics for decades to come. Baade was born, educated, and gained his early research experience in Germany. He came to the United States in 1931 as a staff member of Mount Wilson Observatory, which housed the world's largest telescope. There, he pioneered research on supernovae. With the 100-inch telescope, he studied globular clusters and the structure of the Milky Way, every step leading him closer to the population concept he discovered during the wartime years, when the skies of southern California were briefly darkened. Most Mount Wilson astronomers were working on weapons-development crash programs devoted to bringing Baade's native country to its knees, while he, formally an enemy alien in their midst, was confined to Los Angeles County but had almost unlimited use of the most powerful telescope in the world. After his great discovery, Baade continued his research with the new 200-inch telescope at Palomar. Always respected and well liked, he became even more famous among astronomers as they shifted their research to the fields he had opened. Publicity-shy and seemingly unconcerned with publication, however, Baade's celebrity remained largely within the field. This accomplished biography at last introduces Baade--and his important work--to a wider public, including the newest generation of skywatchers.
Main Description
Although less well known outside the field than Edwin Hubble,Walter Baadewas arguably the most influential observational astronomer of the twentieth century. Written by a fellow astronomer deeply familiar with Baade and his work, this is the first biography of this major figure in American astronomy. In it, Donald Osterbrock suggests that Baade's greatest contribution to astrophysics was not, as is often contended, his revision of Hubble's distance and age scales for the universe. Rather, it was his discovery of two distinct stellar populations: old and young stars. This discovery opened wide the previously marginal fields of stellar and galactic evolution--research areas that would be among the most fertile and exciting in all of astrophysics for decades to come. Baade was born, educated, and gained his early research experience in Germany. He came to the United States in 1931 as a staff member of Mount Wilson Observatory, which housed the world's largest telescope. There, he pioneered research on supernovae. With the 100-inch telescope, he studied globular clusters and the structure of the Milky Way, every step leading him closer to the population concept he discovered during the wartime years, when the skies of southern California were briefly darkened. Most Mount Wilson astronomers were working on weapons-development crash programs devoted to bringing Baade's native country to its knees, while he, formally an enemy alien in their midst, was confined to Los Angeles County but had almost unlimited use of the most powerful telescope in the world. After his great discovery, Baade continued his research with the new 200-inch telescope at Palomar. Always respected and well liked, he became even more famous among astronomers as they shifted their research to the fields he had opened. Publicity-shy and seemingly unconcerned with publication, however, Baade's celebrity remained largely within the field. This accomplished biography at last introduces Baade--and his important work--to a wider public, including the newest generation of skywatchers.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This biography suggests that Walter Baade's greatest contribution to astrophysics was not his revision of Hubble's distance and age scales for the universe, but the discovery of two stellar populations: old and young stars.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
The Preparation: Gottingen and Hamburg, 1893-1927p. 1
The Path toward the Two Populations: Hamburg, 1927-1931p. 25
Before the War: Mount Wilson, 1931-1938p. 49
War and a Great Discovery: Mount Wilson, 1939-1947p. 82
Young Stars and Old: Palomar and Princeton, 1948-1953p. 112
Radio Astronomy and the Size of the Universe: Palomar and Pasadena, 1948-1958p. 147
Telling the Good News: America and Europe, 1953-1959p. 177
The Finale and After: Australia and Gottingen, 1959-1960p. 200
Abbreviationsp. 229
Notesp. 233
Biblographyp. 259
Indexp. 261
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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