• Title: The Universe in a Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It
  • Author: Robert Zimmerman
  • Released: 2008-04-21
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 320
  • ISBN: 0691132976
  • ISBN13: 978-0691132976
  • ASIN: 0691132976
From *Starred Review* Scientists scoffed when astronomer Lyman Spitzer proposed launching a telescope into space in the 1940s. But in recounting how Spitzer’s outlandish idea became the reality of the Hubble Telescope, Zimmerman illuminates a triumph of human curiosity. Readers will marvel at the persistence of the early pioneers who recognized the merit of Spitzer’s proposal and championed it—at considerable personal cost—despite their colleagues’ skepticism. Also remarkable is the brilliance of the designers, who developed versatile new technology for scanning the cosmos from an orbiting platform. But nothing will impress readers more than the way scientists rebounded from bitter disappointment when the first transmissions from Hubble revealed a debilitating flaw in its mirror. By devising an ingenious repair procedure, skillfully executed by shuttle astronauts, these scientists miraculously rehabilitated the costly telescope. Media publication has already made readers familiar with some of the marvelous Hubble images of deep-space objects, but Zimmerman clarifies the scientific significance of these images, exposing the anatomy of exploding stars and mapping the distribution of extrasolar planets. The even larger impact of Hubble’s success emerges in a concluding survey of plans for a new generation of space-based observatories, all inspired by Hubble’s accomplishments. Must reading for armchair astrophysicists. --Bryce Christensen

Review The Universe in a Mirror . . . [is] a breezy behind-the-scenes account by Robert Zimmerman, a freelance writer and space historian. . . . Mr. Zimmerman has brought the story up to the present, and it's a great story. -- Dennis Overbye, New York Times

Robert Zimmerman's The Universe in a Mirror serves to remind us that NASA, too, can do exciting things in space. Yet the career of the Hubble Space Telescope has been both triumphant and troubled, bringing into focus the strengths and weaknesses of doing things the NASA way....Mr. Zimmerman vividly describes the building of the telescope, the turf wars among bureaucrats, scientists and congressional staffers, and the trials and tribulations of the Hubble itself once it was launched. He somehow takes potentially dry subject matter and turns it into a page-turner full of human drama. -- Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Wall Street Journal

The Hubble project's struggle not to be strangled by bureaucracy was conveyed last year in a stirring history, and cautionary tale, by Robert Zimmerman--The Universe in a Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It. Worth a read. -- Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal

A blow-by-blow account of how the Large Space Telescope, as it was originally called, got built--and a cracking good read it makes. . . . Zimmerman has written an engrossing account of a great story. -- Michael Disney, American Scientist

Must reading for armchair astrophysicists. -- Bryce Christensen, Booklist

The Universe in a Mirror is an epic biography of the Hubble telescope. But perhaps more poignant is the book's subtle reminder of all that will be lost in just a few years when Hubble falls from its orbit around Earth--and disintegrates. -- Ashley Yeager, Science News

A just-in-time book that provides the reader key details regarding the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)--and why servicing the eye-on-the-universe is so important. . . . Zimmerman has written an excellent book that details the rocky and twisted road that led to the creation of the HST--not only a technological marvel--but an on-orbit instrument that had to overcome a gravity well of politics and bureaucracy. -- Space Coalition.com

Space historian Robert Zimmerman's crisp and balanced account of Hubble (based on many oral interviews as well as documents) reminds us not only of Hubble's battle with adversity, but also of the many scientists and engineers who shepherded the project through good times and bad. -- Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History Magazine

Zimmerman, a science writer and historian of space exploration, brings back to life those long-forgotten scientists and engineers who engaged in a decades-long campaign to bring Hubble to the launch pad. -- Tod R. Lauer, Physics World

Although there are a number of recent books that discuss some of the history and science behind the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), there are no other current works that cover the history behind the HST so extensively. In The Universe in a Mirror, science writer and historian Zimmerman drew from some of the same sources that Smith (The Space Telescope) used, but he dug deeper by using manuscripts, publications, and interviews that other writers did not access. . . . Zimmerman did an excellent job conveying the personalities and the struggles of the people involved. The text of the book flows well, and it is a pretty easy read. Anyone with a basic interest in science would enjoy. -- J.R. Kraus, Choice

Mirror is entrancing. It successfully communicates that astronomy isn't just a career but something that people do because they're driven by love, passion, and curiosity. . . . If you love the Hubble, this book is a must-read. -- Pamela L. Gay, Sky & Telescope

The Universe in a Mirror . . . offers a history of the epoch-making telescope, as well as fascinating descriptions of its most enthralling discoveries. -- Bill Gladstone, Canadian Jewish News

It is essentially a popular history, and as that, a very successful work. It is highly readable and enthusiastic without being rhapsodic, and is written from a point of view that reveals a longstanding intimacy with all things Hubble Space Telescope. -- Nasser Zakariya, Endeavor

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