This book provides a chronological introduction to the sciences of astronomy and cosmology based on the reading and analysis of significant selections from classic texts, such as Ptolemy’s Almagest, Kepler’s Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, Shapley’s Galaxies, and Lemaître’s The Primeval Atom.
Each chapter begins with a short introduction followed by a reading selection. Carefully crafted study questions draw out key points in the text and focus the reader’s attention on the author’s methods, analysis, and conclusions. Numerical and observational exercises at the end of each chapter test the reader’s ability to understand and apply key concepts from the text.
The Heavens and the Earth is the first of four volumes in A Student’s Guide Through the Great Physics Texts. This book grew out of a four-semester undergraduate physics curriculum designed to encourage a critical and circumspect approach to natural science, while at the same time preparing students for advanced coursework in physics.
This book is particularly suitable as a college-level textbook for students of the natural sciences, history, or philosophy. It also serves as a textbook for advanced high-school students, or as a thematically-organized source-book for scholars and motivated lay-readers. In studying the classic scientific texts included herein, the reader will be drawn toward a lifetime of contemplation.