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The Universe in a Mirror:
The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It
Robert Zimmerman

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Chapter 1 [HTML] or [PDF format]


"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

"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


"Spectacular images of the cosmos from the Hubble Space Telescope have become so routine that it's easy to forget the astronomical community's despair in 1990, when NASA discovered that the main mirror was improperly shaped. In The Universe in a Mirror, Robert Zimmerman brings the visionaries behind this most remarkable of instruments vividly to life, taking us artfully through the decades--long minefield of lobbying, funding, design, construction, delay after the Challenger explosion and launch--and then through the Hubble's near-death experience as astronomers realized to their horror that its mirror was ground to the wrong shape. His meticulously researched but engaging prose makes it clear how remarkable an achievement the telescope actually was, and how easily it might not have happened at all."--Michael D. Lemonick, contributing writer to Time and lecturer at Princeton University

"For everyone who knows something of the story of the space telescope and its travails, this book provides a fascinating look behind the scenes. An excellent contribution to the history of technology."--Robert P. Kirshner, author of The Extravagant Universe

"Quite a story. I really liked this book."--John Huchra, Harvard University

"Zimmerman demonstrates the importance of vision, perseverance, politics, and good luck in getting this national telescope constructed, fixed, and operated. He also illustrates, somewhat poignantly at times, the human costs and disappointments that came up along the way."--J. Michael Shull, University of Colorado at Boulder

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File created: 4/21/2017

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