The Man Who Sold the Milky Way: A Biography of Bart Bok

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University of Arizona Press, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 246 pages
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Distinguished researcher, teacher, and lecturer, Bok began his professional career at the University of Leiden. In 1929 he became Wilson Fellow in astronomy at Harvard University and by 1946 was associate director of the Harvard Observatory. He moved on to the Australian National University in 1957, and in 1966 became Head of the Department of Astronomy and Director of Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona. Bok was keen on educating the public, whether informing people about the Milky Way or debunking astrology. "Bart Bok always loved to talk about astronomy's big picture, " observes Levy, "and in his lifetime of commitment to the Milky Way, he had seen that picture evolve." The Man Who Sold The Milky Way faithfully recounts that commitment. David Levy reviews Bok's career and marriage to Priscilla Fairfield, including a touching chapter on how he dealt with his wife's final illness. In reviewing the achievements that made Bok one of the paramount astronomers of the twentieth century, Levy also describes the harassment by Senator Joseph McCarthy of Bok and his colleagues during the 1950s and the events that forced him to leave Harvard. Drawing on more than fifty interviews with Bok over the two years before his death, Levy has written a biography that was first undertaken over Bok's protests but later gained his full cooperation. It not only shows what made Bok an exceptional scientist but also what it was like to be an astronomer in an era of significant progress in that field.

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The man who sold the Milky Way: a biography of Bart Bok

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In this case "sold'' means "widely publicized research on'' the Milky Way. Bok was one of a number of Dutch-born astronomers who have had distinguished research careers in the United States. He and ... Read full review

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