The Ascent of Gravity: The Quest To Understand the Force That Explains Everything

Pegasus. Nov. 2017. 256p. notes. index. ISBN 9781681775371. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781681775944. SCI
The recent discovery of gravitational waves by the LIGO Lab, a collaboration between Caltech and MIT, motivated astronomer Chown (The Magic Furnace) to write this latest book. The text is divided into three parts (Newton, Einstein, and Beyond Einstein) and features whimsical chapter titles such as "Beware the Tides of March" and "Catch Me If You Can." Each part is roughly chronological, though the author covers many eras within in each section. In doing so, he reveals viewpoints that may be new to nonscientists such as "gravity is acceleration." He also intersperses profundities with humorous references to works such as Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Chown discusses Galileo, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and scientists or astronomers in their historical context. By also exploring their personal lives, the author enhances his discussion of their breakthroughs in understanding gravity. The result is a readable, up-to-date discussion of gravity—one of the weakest but most obvious forces we experience, a force that is less distinct in the newer quantum view of the universe.
VERDICT Adults and teens interested in science history and exciting new physics and astronomy discoveries will thoroughly enjoy.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing