the british observator
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Kew Observatory was originally built in 1769 for King George III, a keen amateur astronomer, so that he could observe the transit of Venus. By the mid-nineteenth century, it was a world-leading center for four major sciences: geomagnetism, meteorology, solar physics, and standardization. Long before government cutbacks forced its closure in 1980, the observatory was run by both major bodies responsible for the management of science in Britain: first the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and then, from 1871, the Royal Society. Kew Observatory influenced and was influenced by many of the larger developments in the physical sciences during the second half of the nineteenth century, while many of the major figures involved were in some way affiliated with Kew. Lee T. Macdonald explores the extraordinary story of this important scientific institution as it rose to prominence during the Victorian era. His book offers fresh new insights into key historical issues in nineteenth-century science: the patronage of science; relations between science and government; the evolution of the observatory sciences; and the origins and early years of the National Physical Laboratory, once an extension of Kew and now the largest applied physics organization in the United Kingdom.
An important 1990 history of the Anglo-Australian Telescope, which provides facilities for research in optical astronomy for scientists from Britain and Australia.
This book tells the story of the Mt Stromlo Observatory in Canberra which began with W.G. Duffield's idealism and vision in 1905. The Observatory began life as a government department, later becoming an optical munitions factory producing gun sights and telescopes during the Second World War, before changing its focus to astrophysics – the new astronomy. In the ensuing years programs were introduced to push the Observatory in new directions at the international frontiers of astronomy. The astronomers built new, better and larger telescopes to unravel the secrets of the universe. There were controversies, exciting new discoveries and new explanations of phenomena that had been discovered. The Observatory and its researchers have contributed to determining how old the universe is, participated in the largest survey of galaxies in the universe, and helped to show us that the universal expansion is accelerating – research that led to Brian Schmidt and his international team being awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. These and other major discoveries are detailed in this fascinating book about one of the great observatories in the world.