This unique volume forestalls the scientific injustice that could have been inflicted on William Gascoigne. The captivating narrative tracks the gradual recovery of the 17 th -century astronomer's trailblazing work on the telescopic sight and the micrometer.
William Gascoigne (c.1612-44) was the inventor of the telescopic sight and micrometer (instruments crucial to the advance of astronomy). His name is now known to historians of science around the world. For some considerable time after his tragic death at the age of 32 in the English Civil War, however, it seemed as if his achievements would be consigned to oblivion. Most of his papers were lost and even the few that survived have largely disappeared. This is the story of how his work was rescued. Into this story is woven an account of the state of astronomy and optics during Gascoigne's lifetime, so that the reader can appreciate the significance of his discoveries.
Part 1: The 'Discovery' of William Gascoigne.- Introduction.- The Gascoignes of Thorp-On-The-Hill.- The 'Discovery' of William Gascoigne.- A 'Light of the First Magnitude'.- Derham and de la Hire.- Bevis and de la Hire.- In His Own Hand.- Part 2: Gascoigne's World.- The Religious World of William Gascoigne.- The Optical World of William Gascoigne.- The Astronomical World of William Gascoigne.- Part 3: Digging Further.- The Flamsteed Transcriptions.- Bodleian Transcriptions.- British Library MSS and Other Transcriptions.- The Civil War and After.- The Road to Civil War.- After Marston Moor.- The Legacy of William Gascoigne.
From the reviews:
"Sellers ... has pulled together copious facts on the little-known astronomer William Gascoigne (c. 1612-44). Gascoigne invented the telescopic sight and micrometer, essential instruments for exact measurements in astronomy. ... The book surveys Gascoigne's life, including the effects of his era's religious and political climate on his education and development. ... Summing Up: Recommended. Specialist audiences including researchers/faculty and professionals." (M.-K. Hemenway, Choice, Vol. 50 (6), February, 2013)
"Sellers' book gives a good account of what is known of Gascoigne's work, and also sets the man in his times. ... historians of astronomy will find it extremely useful. This book has clearly been a labour of love, and it fills an important gap in the history of English astronomy. ... Sellers has probably told us all that we can hope to learn about William Gascoigne." (Alan Batten, Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Vol. 16 (1), 2013)
"David Sellers has done a splendid job of bringing Gascoigne into broader scholarly understanding...What I believe makes this book especially valuable is its author's meticulousness as an archival historian, and the large body of primary research data upon which it stands." -Allan Chapman, The Observatory October 2013
Über den Autor
David Sellers is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a founder member of the Society for the History of Astronomy. Before retirement he was a Chartered Civil Engineer working in flood risk management. He is the author of The Transit of Venus: the Quest to Find the True Distance of the Sun (Leeds, 2001) and co-author of Vénus Devant le Soleil (Paris, 2003).