Why is it dark at night?

Story of dark night sky paradox

by Peter Zamarovský



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 11/18/2013

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 182
ISBN : 9781491878804
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 182
ISBN : 9781491878798
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 182
ISBN : 9781491878811

About the Book

“Why is it dark at night?” might seem a fatuous question at first sight. In reality it is an extremely productive question that has been asked from the very beginning of the modern age, not only by astronomers, for whom it is most appropriate, but also by physicists, philosophers, and even poets. The book you have just opened uses this question as a pretext to relate in the most interesting way the history of human thought from the earliest times to the here and now. The point is that if we want to appreciate the magic power of this ostensibly naïve question we need to discover how it fits into the wider context of the natural sciences and learn something of the faltering steps towards an answer. In doing so the author guides us through periods that we regard as the dim and distant past. However, as we start reading these passages we are amazed to discover just how searching were the questions the ancient philosophers asked themselves in spite of their fragmentary knowledge of the universe, and how clairvoyantly they were able to gaze into its mysterious structure. The author goes on to explain very graphically how this increasingly prickly question was tackled by many great men of science. It is bound to come as a surprise that it was not a philosopher, a physicist or an astronomer, but instead the poet Edgar Alan Poe, who hinted at the right answer. I know of no other similar publication that has dealt so graphically or so succinctly with a question which, after four centuries of fumbling and chasing up blind alleys, was only solved in our lifetime. Jiří Grygar, president of Czech Learned Society, honorary Chairman of the Czech Astronomical Society

About the Author

Peter Zamarovský (1952) comes from Prague, a city with a rich history of Czechs, Germans and Jews, a city where the famous astronomer Kepler made his most significant observations and where Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe found his last rest, a city in which Einstein started to formulate the ideas underlying the general theory of relativity. Inspired, perhaps, by the spirit of the place, Zamarovský studied physics at Charles University, and he now lectures in philosophy and physics at the Czech Technical University in Prague. He is chairman of the European Cultural Club, which, for over twenty years, has organised public panel discussions on topical issues related to various fields of science, philosophy and art. He is active in the historical section of the Czech Astronomical Society and in the Sisyphus Sceptics Club. Zamarovský has written many scientific and popular papers and three books. He also offers popular lectures on various themes in science and philosophy. He has been invited to participate in numerous radio and TV programs. His favourite saying is Hans Reichenbachs “The path of error is the path of truth.“