By Biman B. Nath
What if some of the most exciting tales within the historical past of technology became out to be fallacious? Can city legends creep into the hallowed grounds of medical background? As exceptional because it might sound, the tale of 1 of crucial components nowa days – helium - has been usually misrepresented in books, encyclopedias, and on-line resources, although archival fabrics inform a distinct 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 stumbled on by means of the French astronomer Pierre Janssen whereas staring at a complete sun eclipse from India in 1868. it seems that he spotted anything new within the spectrum of the solar, which he proposal was once the signature of an undiscovered aspect.
The fact is that Janssen by no means observed any signal of a brand new point in the course of his observations in India. His experiences and letters don't point out such a declare.
Other resources could 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 an analogous day, one despatched from India, and the opposite from England.
Again, as a matter of fact totally different. letters from Lockyer and Janssen did succeed in Paris an analogous day in 1868, yet their letters didn't point out any new aspect. What that they had came across was once a brand new manner of staring at the solar with out a sunlight eclipse. this is able to eventually result in the invention of helium, within which Lockyer could play a admired function, yet now not Janssen.
At an analogous time, Norman Robert Pogson, a disgruntled British astronomer stationed in India did observe whatever extraordinary throughout the eclipse. He was once the 1st one to note whatever strange concerning the spectrum of the solar that day, and his observations might end up the most important to Lockyer’s personal investigations of helium. yet Pogson’s document used to be by no means released in any peer reviewed magazine and it languished at the table of an area British officer in colonial India.
This e-book tells the genuine tale in the back of the invention of helium, besides biographical sketches of the scientists and outlines of the milieu within which they labored. it's going to express the thrill, confusion, and fervour of 19th century scientists, utilizing their very own phrases, from their letters and experiences.
“The tale of Helium and the delivery of Astrophysics” chronicles probably the most fascinating discoveries ever made and explains why it additionally marked the beginning 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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