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olson donald w. - investigating art, history, and literature with astronomy

Investigating Art, History, and Literature with Astronomy Determining Time, Place, and Other Hidden Details Linked to the Stars

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Lingua: Inglese


Pubblicazione: 03/2022
Edizione: 1st ed. 2022


How can shadows determine the date and time of a painting by Johannes Vermeer? How did the Moon and tides cause the loss of King John’s crown jewels?

In his newest book, Professor Olson, author of Celestial Sleuth and Further Adventures of the Celestial Sleuth, explores how astronomical clues can uncover fascinating new details about art, history, and literature. He begins with an accessible introduction to amateur “celestial sleuthing,” showing how to use your astronomical knowledge, software, archives, vintage maps, historical letters and diaries, military records, and other resources to investigate the past.

Follow along as Professor Olson then explores twenty real-world cases where astronomy has helped answer unresolved questions or correct longstanding interpretations about an event. Examples involve artists such as Vermeer, Monet, and O’Keeffe; the historical exploits of Alexander the Great, the desert travels of the Death Valley ’49ers, and a meeting between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in Marrakech; and literary works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Longfellow.

Packed with dozens of full-color illustrations, this book will enrich your knowledge of the past and equip you with all the tools you’ll need to become a celestial sleuth yourself.

“Many people have a passion for art, or world history, or great literature, or even astronomy — but seldom in all these things at once. This remarkable book by Donald Olson of Texas State University will put you in touch with such seemingly unrelated endeavors. It will open your eyes and broaden your mind as little else could.”

Roger W. Sinnott, Sky & Telescope


Part I Methods of Celestial Sleuthing
1 Astronomy Software, Learning About Locations, Sunlight and Shadows, and Weather Archives
2 Letters, Almanacs, Timetables, and Foreign Languages
3 Research Trips, Method of Corresponding Days, and Timekeeping
Part II Examples of Astronomy in Art
4 Vermeer and Monet: Masters of Sunlight and Shadows, and the Moon in J. M. W. Turner’s First Oil Paintings
5 Georgia O’Keeffe’s Night Skies, and Kawase Hasui’s Nocturnal Scenes in Japan
Part III Examples of Astronomy in History
6 The Campaigns of Alexander the Great, and King John and the Loss of the Crown Jewels
7 Mont Saint-Michel in the Hundred Years War, and the Discovery of the Gegenschein
8 The Moon and the Death Valley '49ers, Roosevelt and Churchill at Marrakech, and World War II and the Moon
Part IV Examples of Astronomy in Literature
9 Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Longfellow
Part V Example of Terrestrial Sleuthing
10 Death Valley, Dante’s View, and Mount Whitney


Donald W. Olson is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics at Texas State University. He received his B. S. (Physics) from Michigan State University and a Ph. D. (Physics) from the University of California at Berkeley, then went on to conduct post-doctoral research at Cornell University and the University of Texas at Austin.

At Texas State University, Olson taught an Honors College course linking science and the humanities, and the Texas State group has published more than 50 articles using astronomy to solve mysteries in art, history, and literature. In 2014 the American Association of Physics Teachers honored Olson with the Paul Klopsteg Award, which recognizes outstanding communication of the excitement of contemporary physics and astronomy to the general public. In 2015 Olson was named a Regents’ Professor, the highest honor of the Texas State University system. His two previous Springer books are Celestial Sleuth (2014) and Further Adventures of the Celestial Sleuth (2018).

Altre Informazioni



Condizione: Nuovo
Collana: Springer Praxis Books
Dimensioni: 240 x 168 mm Ø 739 gr
Formato: Brossura
Illustration Notes:XVIII, 336 p. 176 illus., 145 illus. in color.
Pagine Arabe: 336
Pagine Romane: xviii

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