The Origins of the Telescope by Albert Van Helden Book PDF Summary
The origins of the telescope have been discussed and debated since shortly after the instrument's appearance in The Hague in 1608. Civic and national pride have led local dignitaries, popular writers, and numerous scholars to search the archives and to construct sharply divergent histories. Did the honor of the invention belong to the Dutch, to the Italians, to the English, or to the Spanish? And if the city of Middelburg in the Netherlands was, in fact, the cradle of the instrument, was the "true inventor" Hans Lipperhey or his rival Zacharias Jansen? Or was the instrument there before anyone knew it? Over the past several decades, a group of historians and scientists have sought out new documents, re-examined familiar ones, and tested early lenses and telescopes. This volume contains the proceedings of a symposium held in Middelburg in September 2008 to mark 400 years of the telescope. The essays in it, taken as a whole, present a new and convincing account of the origins of the instrument that changed mankind's vision of the universe.