The Day We Found the Universe - Marcia Bartusiak (2009)




Niels Bohr Library and Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, Maryland


The Caltech Institute Archives, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California


Henry Huntington Library, San Marino, California


George Ellery Hale Papers, Caltech Institute Archives, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. (There is also a microfilm edition of these papers at other libraries.)


Harvard University Archives, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts


Hubble Papers, Henry Huntington Library, San Marino, California


Mary Lea Shane Archives of the Lick Observatory, University of California, Santa Cruz, California


Plate Vault, Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton, California


Lowell Observatory Archives, Flagstaff, Arizona


Mount Wilson Observatory Director's Files, Henry Huntington Library, San Marino, California


The Archives of the National Academies, Washington, D.C.

Preface: January 1, 1925

ix “redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery”: Fitzgerald (1925), p. 133.

ix some four thousand scientists descended upon Washington, D.C.: “Thirty-Third Meeting” (1925), p. 245.

x uncharacteristically chatty: According to Grace Coolidge, the president's wife, a young woman once sat next to her husband at a dinner party and bet the normally taciturn president that she could wring at least three words of conversation from him. Coolidge promptly responded, “You lose.”

x “It has taken endless ages to create in men”: “Welfare of World Depends on Science, Coolidge Declares” (1925), pp. 1, 9.

x “occurred an event which was marked on the program”: “Thirty-Third Meeting of the American Astronomical Society” (1925), p. 159.

x give holiday sleds a good tryout: “Blanket of Snow Covers the City” (1925), p. 1.

x walked the short distance to the newly constructed Corcoran Hall: During World War II, with scientists working under a government contract designed to develop new technologies for the conflict, the basement of Corcoran Hall was the birthplace of the bazooka.

xi a paper modestly titled “Cepheids in Spiral Nebulae” was presented: “Thirty-third Meeting of the American Astronomical Society” (1925), p. 159.

xi the only spiral nebulae in the nighttime sky that can be seen with the naked eye: The center of the Triangulum galaxy can be seen with the naked eye only under exceptionally good conditions. Viewing the Andromeda nucleus without the aid of a telescope is easier.

xii Henry Norris Russell stood in for Hubble that morning: “Thirty-third Meeting of the American Astronomical Society” (1925), p. 159.

xii Could I possibly be wrong?: Sandage (2004), p. 528; Berendzen and Hoskin (1971), p. 11.

xiv “This was an era of extraordinary change”: Frost (1933), p. 124.

xv “so far as astronomy is concerned … we do appear”: Newcomb (1888), pp. 69– 70.

xvi “Hubble's drive, scientific ability, and communication skills”: Osterbrock, Brashear, and Gwinn (1990), p. 1.

xvii cosmos firma: An ancient Roman would more correctly have said cosmos firmus (for proper matching of masculine adjective to masculine noun), but I wanted to maintain the mellifluous sound and metaphorical connection to terra firma.

xviii book was labeled a “classic”: Mayall (1937), p. 42.

xviii “[His] picture differs from today's only in details”: From the “Forward” to the 1982 edition of Hubble's Realm of the Nebulae (1936), pp. xv–xvi.

1. The Little Republic of Science

3 An immense continent of rock … southward along California's coastline: J. McPhee (1998), pp. 125, 542.

4 “First on top” … “noble and true”: Wright (2003), pp. 25–27.

4 “the public mind in this country”: Ibid., p. 14.

4 the most innovative work at Lick: C. Donald Shane, Lick director in the 1950s, said that “the work [Keeler] did … with the Crossley was the most important work done on the mountain at that time.” AIP, interview of C. Donald Shane by Helen Wright on July 11, 1967.

4 Ptolemy Ridge: Keeler (1900b), p. 326.

6 Keeler's celestial curiosity … lunar craters and the planets: “The New Director of Lick” (1898), p. 7. Also from Osterbrock (1984); Donald Osterbrock wrote the definitive biography of Keeler, and many of the details of Keeler's personal life were drawn from this outstanding work on nineteenth-century American astronomy.

6 a “constant succession of fire balls”: Olmsted (1834), p. 365.

6 “the most remarkable in its appearance”: Olmsted (1866), p. 223.

7 “extraordinary that a people”: Trollope (1949), p. 158.

7 “lighthouse in the sky”: White (1995), p. 124.

7 “Some Americans, haunted by a nagging sense”: Miller (1970), p. 27.

7 “lankey green country boy” … “cracker drawl”: Osterbrock (1984), pp. 8–10.

8 “Starting from essentially zero”: Brush (1979), p. 48.

8 Lick earned his riches … 1906 earthquake: Ibid., pp. 36–37; Wright (2003), pp. 2, 5; Osterbrock, Gustafson, and Unruh (1988), pp. 3–4.

10 Without a legitimate heir: As an adult, Lick's illegitimate son, John Lick, came out to California to meet his father and stayed around for a number of years. They never got along, and Lick refused to acknowledge him as a son, leaving him only $3,000 in his will. After Lick's death, though, John filed suit for his father's fortune, claiming he was the rightful heir. After years of legal strife, Lick's board of trustees finally agreed to settle, giving John the sum of $533,000 for both himself and other contesting relatives. See Osterbrock (1984), pp. 40–43.

10 $4 million: Wright (2003), p. 6.

10 “If I had your wealth”: Ibid., p. 7.

10 Louis Agassiz gave a widely reported lecture: Miller (1970), p. 100.

10 All these lessons … Fourth and Market: Osterbrock (1984), p. 38; Wright (2003), p. 28; Osterbrock, Gustafson, and Unruh (1988), p. 12.

10 “For the Air”: Newton (1717), p. 98.

11 Over time Lick came to accept: Osterbrock (1984), p. 39.

12 “little Republic of Science”: LOA, Keeler Papers, Box 31; Shinn (c. 1890).

12 “I intend to rot like a gentleman”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 53; Wright (2003), p. 61.

12 The choice for director: Osterbrock (1984), p. 42.

2. A Rather Remarkable Number of Nebulae

13 There are some 360 switchbacks in all, and some were even given special names: AIP, interview of Douglas Aitken by David DeVorkin on July 23, 1977.

13 “The view from the observatory peak”: LOA, Keeler Papers, Box 6, Folder 4.

14 “If he has the right ring”: Osterbrock (1986), p. 53.

14 Often in the wintertime, storms would sweep over the mountain: Holden (1891), p. 73.

14 “a terrible old blow and grumbler” … “worthless”: LOA, Keeler to Holden, January 6, 1888.

14 “no inconvenience was felt” … “spider's thread.” Keeler (1888a, 1888b); LOA, Keeler to Holden, January 14, 1888. When the Voyager probe in the 1980s discovered a new separation in Saturn's rings, it was named the Keeler Gap in honor of the Lick astronomer.

15 displayed at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair: Osterbrock and Cruikshank (1983), p. 168.

15 “He was tolerant, amused and unwilling to take sides”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 235.

15 “Beautiful and accurate”: Barnard (1891), p. 546.

19 “as though it were a fort in hostile territory”: AIP, interview of Lawrence Aller by David DeVorkin on August 18, 1979.

19 “I am a human being first”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 108.

20 Saturn's rings were not solid: Maxwell (1983).

20 dispatched a report to the newly established Astrophysical Journal: Keeler (1895).

20 Crossley reflector: Keeler (1900b), p. 325.

20 Early telescopic mirrors: Osterbrock, Gustafson, and Unruh (1988), p. 22.

22 small zinc box: Babcock (1896).

22 “a pile of junk”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 246.

22 “the czar,” “the dictator”: Ibid., pp. 233, 240.

22 went out to say good-bye: AIP, interview of C. Donald Shane by Elizabeth Calciano in 1969.

22 Keeler, by this time, was getting restless … raise his salary: Osterbrock (1984), pp. 239–44.

23 Keeler won the vote by 12 to 9: Ibid., p. 268.

23 “Stay with us, Keeler” LOA, Keeler Papers, Box 31, newspaper clipping.

23 telegraphed his acceptance: Osterbrock (1984), p. 270.

24 Keeler went back to Mount Hamilton … oiled dirt: Campbell (1971), pp. 9, 53–54, 66; Osterbrock (1984), pp. 278–79.

24 “It [was] like being shipwrecked on an island”: Campbell (1971), p. 9.

24 If a hostess sent out an invitation for an evening gathering: Hussey (1903), p. 32.

24 Occasionally a ground squirrel would carry off a ball: Ibid., p. 30.

24 A biologist visiting Mount Hamilton: Shinn (c. 1890).

24 “There are no astronomical phenomena”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 291.

25 “No member of the staff was asked”: Campbell (1900a), p. 144.

25 acquired a stigma: Osterbrock (1984), p. 245.

26 Roberts had pioneered: Ibid., p. 169.

26 “hand down to our successors”: Pang (1997), p. 177.

26 “No Work of Importance”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 297.

26 innumerable engineering problems: LPV, Crossley Reflector Logbook, James F. Keeler, June 1, 1898, to April 10, 1899.

27 “The fainter stars” … “fairly good”: Ibid.

27 upper wall was painted black: Keeler (1899d), p. 667.

27 “On the negative of November 10”: Keeler (1898a), p. 289.

27 “Nebulous wisps …”: Keeler (1898b), p. 246.

28 “The photographic power”: Keeler (1899a), pp. 39–40.

28 “We know them so well today”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 306.

28 “The [Crossley's] workmanship is poor”: HP, Keeler to Hale, February 5, 1899.

28 first spiraling nebula on April 4 … “valueless”: LPV, Crossley Reflector Logbook, James Keeler, June 1, 1898, to April 10, 1899.

29 “Everyone in the Observatory”: LOA, Hale to Keeler, June 12, 1899.

30 “Several other faint nebulae”: Keeler (1899b), p. 538.

30 just stood in front of Keeler's photographs: Osterbrock (1984), p. 309.

30 “on the successes rather than on the failures”: LOA, Keeler to Campbell, June 14, 1900.

30 “The finest I have ever seen”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 310.

31 “a rather remarkable number”: Keeler (1899c), p. 128.

31 “there are nearly as many”: Ibid.

31 “There are hundreds, if not thousands”: Ibid.

31 only seventy-nine were identified as spirals: Dewhirst and Hoskin (1991), p. 263.

32 “a mirey climate for a great telescope”: Osterbrock (1984), pp. 320–21.

32 “The spiral nebula has been regarded”: Keeler (1900a), p. 1.

32 “from the great nebula in Andromeda”: Keeler (1900b), p. 347.

33 “If … the spiral is the form”: Ibid., p. 348.

33 “The heavens are full”: LOA, “Abstract of Lecture at Stanford University,” Keeler Papers, Box 31.

33 “Keeler … was a far better trained, more experienced spectroscopist”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 357.

33 “follow up his remarkable beginnings”: LOA, Hale to Campbell, September 14, 1900.

34 Keeler died unexpectedly: Osterbrock (1984), pp. 327–29; Tucker (1900), p. 399; Campbell (1900a), pp. 139–46.

34 “a hard cold”: LPV, Crossley Reflector Logbook, Keeler, December 1, 1899, to July 24, 1900.

34 “nothing very serious”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 327.

34 “incalculable”: Campbell (1900b), p. 239.

34 “loss cannot be overestimated”: Jones and Boyd (1971), pp. 428–29.

34 The journal Science ran a tribute: Hale (1900).

34 “The day of the refractor was over”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 347.

35 he decided to build another 36-inch reflector: Ibid., pp. 345–46.

35 “The results obtained with the two-foot reflector”: Ritchey (1901), pp. 232–33.

3. Grander Than the Truth

36 “Let us assume for the moment”: Webb (1999), p. 9.

36 “the center of the universe is everywhere”: Impey (2001), p. 38.

37 “If the Matter was evenly disposed”: Kerszberg (1986), p. 79.

37 “There is a size at which dignity begins”: T. Hardy (1883), p. 38.

38 “no other than a certain Effect”: Wright (1750), p. 48.

40 “I don't mean to affirm”: Ibid., p. 62.

40 “too remote for even our telescopes to reach”: Ibid., p. 84.

40 “there may be innumerable other spheres”: Swedenborg (1845), pp. 271–72.

40 what they thought he meant: See Hoskin (1970).

40 “just universes and, so to speak, Milky Ways”: Kant (1900), p. 63.

41 Kant's manuscript was destroyed: Hetherington (1990b), p. 15.

41 “I easily persuaded myself”: Kant (1900), p. 33.

41 “island universes”: The phrase was never used by Kant. Humboldt first applied the term to describe Kant's theory in his book Kosmos, published in 1845. He wrote it in his native language as Weltinsel, “world island,” which was later transformed into the more familiar expression.

41 Edmond Halley (of comet fame) counted six in all: Not all of the objects on Halley's list were true nebulae. The six are: (1) the Orion nebula, (2) the Andromeda nebula (now galaxy), (3) the globular cluster M22 in Sagittarius, (4) the globular cluster Omega Centauri, (5) the open star cluster M11 in Scutum, and (6) the globular cluster M13 in Hercules. In Halley's day, all appeared as unresolved clouds through a telescope.

42 “appear to the naked Eye”: Halley (1714–16), p. 390.

42 Charles Messier published in France his famous list of more than one hundred nebulae: Messier (1781).

42 “I … saw, with the greatest pleasure”: Herschel (1784b), pp. 439–40.

42 “These curious objects”: Herschel (1789), p. 212.

43 “may well outvie our milky-way in grandeur”: Herschel (1785), p. 260.

43 “When I read of the many charming discoveries”: Bennett (1976), p. 75.

43 Caroline, who had earlier joined him in England, fed him morsels of food by hand: Caroline Herschel was more than her brother's handmaiden; she was an accomplished astronomer in her own right. A proficient comet hunter (she was the first woman to find one), she was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society's Gold Medal in 1828.

43 “confirmed and established by a series of observations.” Herschel (1785), p. 220.

44 capable of seeing out to cosmological distances: Hoskin (1989), pp. 428–29.

45 “I have seen double and treble nebulae”: Herschel (1784b), pp. 442–43, 448. Sixty years before Alexander von Humboldt originated the term island universe, William Herschel actually referred to the possibility that the Milky Way might be an “island” in his classic 1785 paper “On the Construction of the Heavens.” “It is true,” wrote Herschel, “that it would not be consistent confidently to affirm that we were on an island unless we had actually found ourselves every where bounded by the ocean, and therefore I shall go no further than the [gauges] will authorise; but considering the little depth of the stratum in all those places which have been actually [gauged] … there is but little room to expect a connection between our nebula and any of the neighbouring ones.” See Herschel (1785), pp. 248–49.

45 “The inhabitants of the planets that attend the stars”: Herschel (1785), p. 258.

45 “A most singular phaenomenon!”: Belkora (2003), p. 109.

45 “Cast your eye on this cloudy star”: Herschel (1791), pp. 73, 84.

45 stars or a “shining fluid”—not both: Ibid., p. 71.

46 We were alone in the universe once again … at least for a while: There are some qualifiers to this blunt statement. While others interpreted Herschel as having abandoned the thought of other universes, the great British astronomer did seem to maintain that certain nebulae, ones he had already resolved, were distant star systems. So his sense of the visible universe did extend beyond the Milky Way. (From Robert Smith, personal communication, May 5, 2008.)

46 So big was the telescope tube: Hetherington (1990b), p. 16.

46 “to make a telescope of the largest dimensions possible”: “Report of the Council to the Forty-Ninth General Meeting of the Society,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 29 (February 1869): 124.

46 to devote himself to a newfound career as a gentleman scientist: The Parsons family had a rich engineering legacy. In 1884 Rosse's son Charles invented the first steam turbine that could convert the power of steam directly into electricity, a method adopted by power stations worldwide.

46 a British reporter once caught him working at a vise: Singh (2005), p. 181.

46 “It is scarcely possible to preserve”: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 2 (1844): 8.

47 to resemble one of the ancient round towers of Ireland: Clerke (1886), p. 151.

47 “Sweeping down from the moat towards the lake”: Ball (1895), p. 193.

47 “strange stellar cloudlets”: Proctor (1872), p. 64.

47 “a structure and arrangement more wonderful and inexplicable”: “Report of the Council,” p. 129.

47 “With each successive increase of optical power”: Rosse (1850), p. 504.

48 “existed only in the imagination of the astronomer”: MacPherson (1916), p. 132.

48 “numerous firmaments”: Nichol (1840), p. 10.

48 “It is indeed wholly unlikely that our group…. THIRTY MILLIONS OF YEARS”: Nichol (1846), pp. 17, 36–37.

49 This was a brave estimate. In 1831 British geologist Charles Lyell arrived at an age for Earth of 240 million years based on the fossils of marine mollusks, but it was still highly controversial. In 1836 Charles Darwin took a copy of Lyell's Principles of Geology along with him on his famous voyage on the Beagle, which greatly influenced his developing ideas on evolution.

49 “poised so skilfully …”; “perfectly wretched”: Proctor (1872), pp. 64–67.

51 what they are instead of where they are: Keeler (1897), pp. 746, 749.

51 “coming upon a spring of water”: Huggins (1897), p. 911.

51 “The chemistry of the solar system prevailed”: Whiting (1915), p. 1.

51 “excited suspense … but a luminous gas”: Huggins (1897), pp. 916–17.

52 “The nebular hypothesis made visible!”: Turner (1911), p. 351.

52 “a planetary system at a somewhat advanced”: Huggins and Huggins (1889), p. 60.

52 “a ‘universe of stars,’ like our own ‘galactic cluster’”: Young (1891), p. 509.

52 “What is beyond the stellar system”: Ibid., p. 512.

52 “This strange and beautiful object”: Maunder (1885), p. 321.

52 “a scale of magnitude such as the imagination recoils”: Clerke (1902), p. 403.

53 “[The nova] was in the heart of the Great Nebula”: Frost (1933), p. 45.

53 “[I would deem] it a very great favor to be able to make use of your great harvest of new forms”: LOA, Chamberlin to Keeler, January 30, 1900.

53 “The question whether nebulae are external galaxies” … “misleading”: Clerke (1890), pp. 368, 373.

54 “That the spiral nebulae are star clusters is now raised to a certainty”: Scheiner (1899), p. 150.

54 A further investigation was not undertaken until 1908: Fath (1908).

54 “The hypothesis that the central portion of a nebula”: Ibid., p. 76.

54 perhaps because he was still a lowly graduate student: Osterbrock, Gustafson, and Unruh (1988), p. 188.

55 “stands or falls”: Fath (1908), p. 77.

4. Such Is the Progress of Astronomy in the Wild and Wooly West

56 stockings on the gear of the giant telescope; Mitchell automobile: AIP, interview of Mary Lea Shane by Charles Weiner on July 15, 1967; interview of Charles Donald Shane by Bert Shapiro on February 11, 1977.

56 “a spectacular performance is kept up”: LOA, Curtis Papers, unsigned letter to Curtis, August 9, 1905.

56 “wonderfully kind, jolly person, always smiling, always happy”: AIP, interview of Mary Lea Shane by Charles Weiner on July 15, 1967.

56 feat once described as “remarkable”: Trimble (1995), p. 1138.

57 These astronomers were specifying that the spirals' sizes and the brightness of their novae only made sense if they were milky ways at great distance: See Very (1911) and Wolf (1912).

57 “If the spiral nebulae are within the stellar system”: Douglas (1957), pp. 26–27.

57 “in best harmony with known facts”: Campbell (1917), p. 534.

57 a program that had not been a top priority since Keeler's death: Charles Perrine took over the Crossley after Keeler's death and made some substantial improvements to its mount, drive, gears, and mirror system. While he did carry out some work on the nebulae, his most acclaimed accomplishment with the Crossley was discovering the sixth and seventh moons of Jupiter. See Osterbrock, Gustafson, and Unruh (1988), pp. 142–44.

57 a gifted mechanic: McMath (1944), pp. 246–47; Curtis (1914).

57 The mirror had already been remounted in 1904: See Perrine (1904).

58 “magnum opus”: Stebbins (1950), p. 3.

59 student of the ancient languages: Aitken (1943), p. 276.

59 He hoped to continue at the Lick Observatory: LOA, Curtis to Keeler, March 24, 1900.

59 “ready and glad to be put at anything from a shovel up”: LOA, Curtis to Campbell, April 11, 1900.

59 hired him on as an assistant: Osterbrock (1984), p. 342.

60 simply good training for a life on Mount Hamilton: LOA, Curtis to Campbell, June 9, 1902; AIP interview of Douglas Aitken by David DeVorkin on July 23, 1977.

60 covered in thick yellow dust: Stebbins (1950), p. 2.

60 saw three miles of fire-front, burning fiercely: Campbell (1971), pp. 62–64.

60 “And, naturally, the lens inverted everything”: AIP, interview of Douglas Aitken by David DeVorkin on July 23, 1977.

60 “Queer how completely we seem to have taken root here”: LOA, Curtis to Richard Tucker, March 23, 1909.

60 Halley's Comet: LOA, Curtis Papers, Folder 1, Halley report.

61 amassed a photographic library of around one hundred nebulae and clusters: Curtis (1912).

61 boosted that number to more than two hundred: LOA, Curtis Papers, “Report of Work from July 1, 1912, to July 1, 1913.”

61 “Many of these nebulae show forms of unusual interest.” Ibid.

61 rich diversity in their appearance: Curtis (1912).

61 “Crossley still has its old reputation”: MWDF, Box 153, Curtis to Walter Adams, May 27, 1913.

61 “If you got a little bit sleepy at night”: AIP, interview of Mary Lea Shane by Charles Weiner on July 15, 1967.

61 observe from a boat: This popular tale, often heard at the Lick Observatory, was told to me by Lick astronomer Tony Misch.

61 “of smooth nebulous material and also of soft star-like condensations or nebulous stars”: Ritchey (1910b), p. 624.

62 “rotatory or otherwise…. As the spirals are undoubtedly in revolution”: Curtis (1915), pp. 11–12.

63 “the Greek letter F … for lack of a better term”: Curtis (1913), p. 43.

63 “shows dark lane down center” … “beautifully clear”: LOA, Curtis Papers, Folder 1, “Edgewise or Greatly Elongated Spirals.”

63 “due to the same general cause”: Curtis (1918b), p. 49.

63 Not one spiral had ever been spotted in the thick of the Milky Way: For his doctoral research at the Lick Observatory, Roscoe Sanford searched the length and breadth of the Milky Way for signs of a spiral, using long exposures in hope of bringing to light faint nebulae previously hidden within the Milky Way. He didn't find any. See Sanford (1916–18).

63 “[The] great band of occulting matter in the plane of our galaxy”: Curtis (1918b), p. 51.

64 “Were the Great Nebula in Andromeda situated five hundred times as far away”: Curtis (1918a), p. 12.

65 nova in NGC 6946: Ritchey (1917).

65 was sure that the outbursts were not simply variable stars: Curtis (1917c), p. 108.

65 “That both these novae should have appeared in the same spiral”: Ibid.

65 “must be regarded as having a very definite bearing”: Curtis (1917b), p. 182.

65 “Such is the progress of Astronomy”: HUA, Harlow Shapley to Henry Norris Russell, September 3, 1917, HUG 4773.10, Box 23C.

65 show off the plate: AIP, interview of C. Donald Shane by Helen Wright on July 11, 1967.

66 He said as much to the Associated Press: LOA, Newspaper Cuttings, Volume 9, 1905–1928, “Three New Stars Are Seen at Lick.”

66 20 million light-years distant: Curtis was not far off the mark. NGC 4527, the location of the first nova he spotted, is currently estimated to be around 30 million light-years from Earth.

67 On one plate alone he counted 304 additional spirals: Curtis (1918a), p. 13.

67 “The great numbers of small spirals found on nearly all my plates”: Ibid., pp. 12–14.

67 “Get up a collection of about 40 classy slides”: LOA, Curtis Papers, Folder 3, 1919–20, Curtis to Campbell, February 6, 1919.

68 “The history of scientific discovery affords many instances”: Curtis (1919), pp. 217–18.

68 Over the course of that March evening, Curtis laid out his arguments point by point: LOA, Curtis Papers, Folder 3, 1919–20, Lecture on “Modern Theories of the Spiral Nebulae.”

69 “As to my staying here permanently, I have no idea whatever of doing that”: LOA, Curtis Papers, Folder 2, Curtis to Campbell, December 8, 1918.

69 “The hypothesis of external galaxies is certainly a sublime and magnificent one”: Crommelin (1917), p. 376.

5. My Regards to the Squashes

70 “is not without a considerable atmosphere”: Herschel (1784a), p. 273.

71 “Considerable variations observed in the network of waterways”: Pannekoek (1989), p. 378.

71 news story of the year: “Mars” (1907), p. 1.

71 who had made their fortunes creating the American cotton industry: Strauss (2001), p. 3.

72 “After lying dormant for many years”: Lowell (1935), p. 5.

72 occasionem cognosce, “seize your opportunity”: Hoyt (1996), p. 15.

72 he once listed his address as “cosmos”: Strauss (2001), p. 5.

72 eventually fired one charter member of his observing staff: Hoyt (1996), pp. 123–24.

72 “The Strife of the Telescopes”: Hoyt (1996), p. 112.

73 “as efficient as could be constructed”: Hall (1970b), p. 162.

73 “I … take him only because I promised to do so”: LWA, Lowell to W. A. Cogshall, July 7, 1901.

73 for many of America's greatest astronomers … red and blue ends of the spectrum: Smith (1994), pp. 45–48.

74 “When you shall have learnt all about the spectroscope”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, December 18, 1901.

74 “kept himself well insulated from public view”: Hall (1970b), p. 161.

75 always wore a suit and tie to work when not observing: AIP, interview of Henry Giclas by Robert Smith on August 12, 1987.

75 “Don't observe sun much. It hurts lenses”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, January 11, 1902.

75 “Permit nobody whatever in observatory office”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, January 24, 1902.

75 “Will you kindly see if shredded wheat biscuit are to be got at Haychaff”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, January 4, 1903.

75 “How fare the squashes?”; “My regards to the squashes”; “You may when the squashes ripen send me one by express”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, October 7, 12, and 21, 1901.

75 “Why haven't I received squashes?”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, December 27, 1901.

75 “Thank you for taking so much pains with the garden!”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, May 26, 1902.

75 “Your vegetables came all right and delighted me hugely”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, July 7, 1902.

75 eventually becoming a virtuoso … watery Mars: Hoyt (1996), pp. 129–45.

76 no sign at all: Not until the 1960s did astronomers confirm that water vapor in the Martian atmosphere was more than a thousand times less than the amount found in Earth's atmosphere, far lower than what Slipher could possibly have measured in the early 1900s with his equipment.

77 gas existed in the seemingly empty space between the stars: Smith (1994), p. 52.

77 “Dear Mr. Slipher, I would like to have you take with your red sensitive plates the spectrum of a white nebula”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, February 8, 1909.

77 “I do not see much hope of our getting the spectrum”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, February 26, 1909.

77 Campbell at the Lick Observatory had recently written yet another article critical of the Lowell Observatory: The article was Campbell (1908), 560–62. According to John C. Duncan, then a graduate student at Lick working on his thesis, two astronomers at Lick had “charted several stars not seen there by Lowell … from what I can gather Campbell is preparing a bunch of fireworks to shoot off in the various periodicals. In all probability there will be much entertainment for those who enjoy scientific argument.” (LWA, Duncan to Slipher, September 13, 1908.) Despite these occasional interobservatory tussles, Campbell and Slipher generally maintained a cordial correspondence, most often discussing equipment.

77 to see 173 stars in a given field of the sky, where Lick's 36-incher could see only 161: P. Lowell (1905), 391–92.

77 “I have come to the conclusion”: LWA, Slipher to Miller, October 18, 1908.

78 “This plate of mine”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, December 3, 1910.

78 “there is no more pressing need at present”: Smith (1994), p. 54.

79 “It is not really very good”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, September 26, 1912.

79 November 15 observation details: LWA, Spectrogram Record Book II, September 24, 1912, to July 28, 1913, pp. 34–37.

79 December 3 and 4 observation details: Ibid., pp. 61–62.

79 high-voltage induction coils: Hall (1970a), p. 85.

80 “encouraging results or (I should say) indications”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, December 19, 1912.

80 “I congratulate you on this fine bit of work”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, December 24, 1912.

80 “would doubtless impress all these observers”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, December 19, 1912.

81 On a scale from 1 to 10: LWA, Douglass to Lowell, January 14, 1895.

81 December 29–31 observation details: LWA, Spectrogram Record Book II, September 24, 1912, to July 28, 1913, pp. 69–70.

81 “I feel safe to say here that the velocity bids fair to come out unusually large”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, January 2, 1913.

81 spectrocomparator operation: Slipher (1917b), p. 405.

81 calculations to convert the measured shift: LWA, V. M. Slipher Working Papers, Box 4, Folder 4-9.

82 He also sent a print of the spectrum to Edward Fath: LWA, Slipher to Fath, January 18, 1913.

82 “the shift has no direct bearing”: Fath (1908), p. 75.

82 today, with far better equipment, astronomers measure Andromeda approaching us at 301 kilometers per second: See I. D. Karachentsev and O. G. Kashibadze (2006), 7.

82 “agree as closely as could be expected”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, February 3, 1913.

82 publish his brief account: Slipher (1913).

82 “It looks to me as though you have found a gold mine”: LWA, Miller to Slipher, June 9, 1913.

82 “beauty”: LWA, Wolf to Slipher, February 21, 1913.

82 “It is hard to attribute it to anything but Doppler shift”: LWA, Frost to Slipher, October 23, 1913.

82 “Your high velocity for [the] Andromeda Nebula is surprising in the extreme”: LWA, Campbell to Slipher, April 9, 1913.

83 “I had planned to get at this work years ago”: LWA, Wright to Slipher, August 19, 1914.

83 “It looks as if you had made a great discovery”: LWA, Lowell to Slipher, February 8, 1913.

83 “Spectrograms of spiral nebulae are becoming more laborious”: LWA, Slipher Papers, Hoyt-V. M. Box, Report F4, titled “Spectrographic Observations of Nebulae and Star Clusters.”

83 “heavy and the accumulation of results slow”: Slipher (1913), p. 57.

83 “telescopic object of great beauty”: LWA, Slipher Working Papers, Box 4, Folder 4-4.

83 “no less than three times that of the great Andromeda Nebula”: Ibid.

84 “When I got the velocity of the Andr. N. I went slow”: LWA, Slipher to Miller, May 16, 1913.

84 dust clouds illuminated by reflected starlight: LWA, Slipher to J. C. Duncan, December 29, 1912.

84 “undergoing a strange disintegration”: LWA, Slipher to E. Hertzsprung, May 8, 1914.

84 “more numerous in, rather than outside, the Galaxy”: LWA, Slipher to Miller, May 16, 1913.

84 “I leaned against it”: Hall (1970a), p. 85.

84 his exposures often ran twenty to forty hours: Slipher (1917b), p. 404.

84 “With such prolonged exposures the accumulation of plates”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, May 4, 1913.

84 “It is our problem now and I hope we can keep it”: LWA, Slipher to Lowell, May 16, 1913.

85 “My harty [sic] congratulations”: LWA, Hertzsprung to Slipher, March 14, 1914.

85 “It is a question in my mind”: LWA, Slipher to Hertzsprung, May 8, 1914.

85 Slipher inwardly feared … Let the work speak for itself: Strauss (2001), p. 244.

85 confident of what he was seeing: AIP, interview of Henry Giclas by Robert Smith on August 12, 1987.

85 “Spectrographic Observations of Nebulae”: Popular Astronomy 23 (1915): 21– 24.

86 “about 25 times the average stellar velocity”: Ibid., p. 23.

86 his fellow astronomers rose to their feet and gave him a resounding ovation: Smith (1982), p. 19.

86 “Let me congratulate you upon the success of your hard work”: LWA, Campbell to Slipher, November 2, 1914.

87 “I am … glad to have your kind offer”: LWA, Slipher to Edwin Frost, October 22, 1914.

87 enlisted the help of a mathematician: LWA, Slipher Working Papers, Box 4, Folder 4-16.

87 “It has for a long time been suggested that the spiral nebulae are stellar systems”: Slipher (1917b), p. 409.

87 “scattering” in some way: Ibid., p. 407.

87 By 1925, forty-five spiral nebulae velocities were pegged with assurance, and it was Slipher who had measured nearly all of them: Sandage (2004), p. 499.

88 he noticed a particular progression to the stampede outward: Wirtz (1922).

88 a term they labeled K: Use of the K term in spiral nebulae redshift studies was introduced in 1916 by Lick Observatory astronomer George Paddock, who thought the correction would no longer be needed once a sufficient number of observations were made. Others, like Wirtz, swiftly adopted the convention. See Paddock (1916). The K term was actually first used by stellar astronomers. Astronomers were finding that the value for the motion of the Sun, its speed and direction through the galaxy, could change depending on the celestial object—a particular star or nebula—that was used to gauge it. To bring them into agreement, astronomers introduced the K correction term. By the 1960s, with improved measurements, this “K- effect” for stars silently disappeared from the astronomical literature.

6. It Is Worthy of Notice

90 Ancient Persians called the biggest one Al Bakr: The Large Magellanic Cloud was named Al Bakr by the noted Persian astronomer Al-Sûfi in his Book of Fixed Stars, written in 964. While not visible from northern Persia, it was visible to Middle Eastern peoples farther south, near the strait of Bab el Mandeb.

90 “two clouds of mist”: Nowell (1962), p. 127.

91 “capable of doing as much and as good routine work”: Pickering (1898), p. 4.

92 These women “computers” … photographic magnitude: Jones and Boyd (1971), pp. 388–90.

92 “He treated [the computers] as equals in the astronomical world”: Ibid., p. 390.

93 Leavitt grew up in Massachusetts, within a big and supportive family: Johnson (2005), pp. 25–26. Many of the personal details of Leavitt's life are drawn from George Johnson's excellent biography of Henrietta Leavitt, the most comprehensive review of her life to date.

93 “For light amusements, she appeared to care little”: Bailey (1922), p. 197.

94 “For this I should be willing to pay thirty cents an hour”: Johnson (2005), pp. 31–32.

95 “variable-star ‘fiend’”: Ibid., p. 37.

95 one of the first and brightest discovered: The English astronomer John Goodricke first noticed the variable brightness of δ Cephei in 1784. An astronomy prodigy (and also deaf like Leavitt), he won the Royal Society's prestigious Copley medal at the age of nineteen for his work on eclipsing binary stars. He died three years later of pneumonia.

95 “As a rule, they are faint during the greater part of the time”: Leavitt (1908), p. 107.

95 “It is worthy of notice”: Ibid.

97 “A remarkable relation between the brightness of these variables and the length of their periods will be noticed”: Leavitt and Pickering (1912), p. 1.

98 “masterpiece”: Rubin (2005), p. 1817.

98 “to work, not to think”: Payne-Gaposchkin (1984), p. 149.

98 “It is to be hoped, also, that the parallaxes [essentially, distances] of some variables of this type may be measured”: Leavitt and Pickering (1912), p. 3.

98 the cold aggravated her hearing condition: Johnson (2005), p. 31.

98 observatory's prime function was to collect and classify data: Jones and Boyd (1971), p. 369.

98 quickly assigned Leavitt another task: Johnson (2005), pp. 56–57.

98 “a harsh decision, which condemned a brilliant scientist to uncongenial work”: Payne-Gaposchkin (1984), p. 146.

99 “[It's] of enormous importance in the present discussions”: HUA, Shapley to Leavitt, May 22, 1920.

99 “Miss Leavitt had no understudy competent to take up her work”: HUA, Shapley to Frederick Seares, December 13, 1921.

99 nominate her for a Nobel Prize in physics: Johnson (2005), p. 118.

7. Empire Builder

103 at most around 20,000 to 30,000 light-years wide: Smith (1982), pp. 58–60.

104 “owe all to Hale and his dreams”: Wright (1966), p. 14.

104 Pickering discovered women and Hale discovered money: Rubin (2005), p. 1817.

104 “astronomical research with a feeling of awe”: Hale (1898), p. 651.

105 confirmed that the element carbon resided in the Sun: Wright (1966), p. 59.

105 “reaching up toward the heavens in the great dome”: Ibid., p. 71.

105 “I would not consider [joining the faculty] for a moment”: Ibid., p. 92.

107 “The donor could have no more enduring monument” … “send the bill to me”: Ibid., pp. 96–98.

107 “the embodiment and representative of corruption in municipal affairs”: Jones and Boyd (1971), p. 429.

107 “giants were plotting, fighting, dreaming on every hand”: Dreiser and Booth (1916), p. 172.

107 “Mr. Yerkes, when he took the matter in hand …”; “… shortly be licked”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 185.

108 “there may be some who view with disfavor”: Keeler (1897), p. 749.

108 grinding the mirror and designing its support system: Ritchey (1897).

108 The descendant of Irish immigrant craftsmen … reflectors were the instruments of astronomy's future: Osterbrock (1993), pp. 33–37.

108 reputation as a cantankerous cuss: Sandage (2004), pp. 96–97.

109 “The possibility of having you for a neighbor”: HP, Keeler to Hale, February 5, 1899.

109 “Wilson's Peak”: Wilson's Peak was named after Benjamin Davis Wilson, who in the 1850s was the first nonnative to explore the mountain, which was situated near his orchards and winery. Wilson was the grandfather of General George S. Patton Jr.

109 “the place”: Osterbrock (1984), p. 350.

109 Harvard briefly considered setting up a permanent telescope there: Wright (1966), p. 165.

110 “to encourage investigation, research and discovery”: Ibid., p. 159.

110 “seemed almost too good to be true”: Ibid.

110 surpassed the funds then endowed for research at all American universities combined: Hetherington (1996), p. 104.

110 start work on the mountain: Wright (1966), pp. 187–88.

110 His mistress, the Los Angeles socialite Alicia Mosgrove: Osterbrock (1993), p. 74.

110 “an inner excitement—a higher degree of interest—a higher degree of suffering”: Wright (1966), p. 198.

110 only a few farmhouses and barns nearby: Adams (1947), p. 223.

110 Jasper, Pinto, Duck, and Maude: Ibid., p. 218.

111 hundreds of tons of material were hauled up: Sandage (2004), pp. 165–67.

111 no imperfection extended farther than two millionths of an inch: Wright (1966), p. 228.

112 Hale decided he would not follow the Lick Observatory model: Sheehan and Osterbrock (2000), p. 101.

112 “Hale was never so happy”: Adams (1947), p. 223.

112 to see “the woods” instead of the trees: Wright, Warnow, and Weiner (1972), p. 273.

112 with all astronomers required to wear coat and tie: AIP, interview of Allan Sandage by Spencer Weart on May 22 and 23, 1978.

113 “partly because of the strong influence of Dr. Hale's remarkable personality”: HL, Walter Adams Papers, Box 1, Folder 1.15, “Autobiographical Notes.”

113 Harlow Shapley showed up fully prepped … “Please come to Mount Wilson”: Shapley (1969), pp. 44–45.

8. The Solar System Is Off Center and Consequently Man Is Too

114 “I have looked at some cluster plates a little”: HUA, Shapley to Russell, May 20, 1914.

114 “He is much more venturesome”: HUA, Hale to A. Lawrence Lowell, March 29, 1920.

115 “keep the rhythm going”: Shapley (1969), p. 11.

115 “The St. Louis Globe-Democrat was our chief contact”: Ibid., p. 5.

115 refused admission … had always desired: Ibid., p. 12. On May 3, 1963, the town of Carthage, Missouri, celebrated “Harlow Shapley Day,” in honor of its most famous citizen. Along with a parade of thirty floats and fourteen marching bands, the high school, which had rejected Shapley's admission fifty-seven years earlier, gave him an honorary diploma. See Hoagland (1965), pp. 424–25.

115 “So there I was”: Shapley (1969), p. 17. Martha Shapley, in some remembrances after her husband's death, said that “the story about ‘Archaeology/Astronomy’ in the catalogue was a H.S. joke.” HUA, Martha Shapley's Notes on His [Shapley's] Life.

115 He actually was in need of a job … with honors: Shapley (1969), pp. 17–21.

115 “thinks about what he is doing”: DeVorkin (2000), p. 104.

116 accept this rising star: Ibid.

116 specialized in eclipsing binaries: Shapley (1969), p. 25.

116 “wild Missourian”: Ibid., p. 31.

116 “worse than log tables”: HL, Seares Papers, Shapley to Seares, December 26, 1912.

117 “his cane to sweep the undergraduates out of their path”: DeVorkin (2000), p. 105.

117 helped open doors for Shapley to become a staff astronomer: HL, Seares Papers, Seares to Shapley, April 27, 1912.

117 salary of $90 a month, plus free board on the mountain: HUA, Hale to Shapley, November 7, 1912.

117 happily computed eclipsing binary orbits: Shapley (1969), p. 49.

117 “Just killed a 3 ft. rattlesnake”: Hoge (2005), p. 4.

117 “We had to be rugged in those days”: Shapley (1969), p. 51.

117 Adriaan van Maanen, the latter of whom first arrived at Mount Wilson in 1911 as a volunteer assistant and remained on as a staff member for thirty-five years: Adams (1947), p. 294.

117 “A discussion with him was like a rousing game of ping-pong”: Payne-Gaposchkin (1984), p. 155.

118 “A generous supporter, a stimulating companion”: Ibid., p. 156.

118 so regular in his habits … cigarette stand: Sutton (1933b).

118 “I feel very sure that if I should go away”: HUA, Shapley to George Monk, January 28, 1918.

118 “to make measures of stars in globular clusters”: Shapley (1969), p. 41.

118 he had begun discovering large numbers of variables: Historian Horace Smith suggests that Bailey found enough Cepheids in Omega Centauri, the largest globular cluster in the Milky Way, to have discerned a crude period-luminosity relation six years before Henrietta Leavitt's first suggestion of such a rule. But Bailey was more focused on gathering data than interpreting it and so never made the connection. See Smith (2000), pp. 190–91.

118 “became synonyms”: Shapley (1969), p. 90.

118 “I have not intended to intrude upon your field”: HUA, Shapley to S. I. Bailey, January 30, 1917.

119 “I hope you will appreciate the fact”: HUA, Bailey to Shapley, February 15, 1917.

119 Bailey was primarily a data gatherer: Smith (2000), pp. 194–95.

119 a trait enhanced during his apprenticeship with Russell, who advocated problem-driven research: See DeVorkin (2000).

119 was not known until the 1600s: The German astronomer Johann Abraham Ihle in 1665 discovered the first globular cluster, later labeled M22 by Charles Messier, while observing Saturn. The cluster is situated within the constellation Sagittarius.

119 “It is quite obvious that a globular cluster”: Shapley (1915a), p. 213.

120 These included Omega Centauri (the biggest of them all): Recent evidence suggests that Omega Centauri, which was always atypical, is not a true globular cluster but rather a dwarf galaxy stripped of its outermost stars.

121 “Her discovery … is destined to be one of the most significant results of stellar astronomy”: HUA, Shapley to Pickering, September 24, 1917.

121 too small to be discernible by ground-based telescopes: Space telescopes, specially designed to do parallax work, have extended distance measurements out farther.

122 30,000 light-years distant: Hertzsprung (1914), p. 204. Hertzsprung's estimate, when published in the German journal Astronomische Nachrichten in 1914, was first printed as a much reduced 3,000 light-years, which diminished the impact of his finding. It was a clumsy arithmetical error on Hertzsprung's part. That it was meant to be around 30,000 light-years (10,000 parsecs) is seen in a typed, unsigned note in which either Walter Adams or George Hale remarks that by an “ingenious argument” Hertzsprung has found the distance of the Magellanic Cloud “to be 10,000 parsecs—the greatest distance we have yet had occasion to mention.” But the published error may have contributed to the delay in recognizing that other galaxies reside outside the boundaries of the Milky Way. CA, Hale Papers, Box 2, Hale/Adams correspondence. See also Sandage (2004), p. 361.

122 demonstrated for the first time: Fernie (1969), p. 708.

122 “I had not thought of making the very pretty use”: Smith (1982), p. 72.

122 concluded that they were giant stars: Russell (1913).

122 arriving at 80,000 light-years: Smith (1982), p. 72.

123 “improved and extended”: Shapley (1918a), p. 108.

123 Shapley tried mightily to check with Leavitt on this question: Shapley was still concerned late in his project. “I notice that a great many of the hundreds of [variables in the Small Magellanic Cloud] are fainter. Does Miss Leavitt know if they have shorter periods[?] … The matter is of much importance, as you know, because of the relation between periods and brightness,” he wrote Pickering in 1917. (HUA, Shapley to Pickering, August 27, 1917.) Leavitt was then away on an extended vacation and could not provide an immediate answer.

123 “Routine stuff”: HUA, Russell to Shapley, November 26, 1920.

123 “This proposition scarcely needs proof”: Shapley (1914), p. 449.

123 “The whole line of reasoning … was brilliant”: Sandage (2004), p. 303.

124 “definite conclusions from these data cannot be safely made”: Bailey (1919), p. 250.

124 With the assistance of Edison Hoge, he took some three hundred photographs: Shapley (1918b), p. 156.

124 “the work on clusters goes on monotonously”: Gingerich (1975), p. 346.

124 Hale had convinced him to stay at his job: HUA, Shapley to Russell, July 22, 1918.

125 With the first hint of dawn in the east … settle any squabbles: Sandage (2004), pp. 181, 195.

125 “The most unwarranted fun of all comes from bugs”: HUA, Shapley to Oliver D. Kellogg, December 31, 1918.

125 “Another method is to read your thermometer”: Shapley (1969), p. 66.

125 His findings were published in scientific journals: For example, see H. Shapley (1924), pp. 436–39.

125 further rest and relaxation: HUA, Shapley to Russell, September 3, 1917.

125 some well-known star clusters within the Milky Way were at least 50,000 lightyears distant: Smith (2006), p. 319.

126 “This is a peculiar universe”: HUA, Shapley to Russell, October 31, 1917.

126 “the minimum distance of the Andromeda Nebula”: Shapley (1917b), p. 216.

127 “like a winding spring”: Slipher (1917a), p. 62.

127 “V. M. does a little, Hale a little more, and I much”: HUA, Shapley to Russell, September 3, 1917.

127 “inclined to believe in the reality of the [spirals'] internal proper motions”: HUA, Russell to Shapley, November 8, 1917.

127 “word was law”: Payne-Gaposchkin (1984), p. 177.

127 “the general plan of the sidereal system … bearing on the structure of the universe”: Shapley (1918a), p. 92.

128 “striking”: Shapley (1918b), p. 168.

128 “impossible to count every star shown”: Melotte (1915): 168.

128 around 20,000 parsecs … away: Shapley (1919d), p. 313.

128 In 1909 the Swedish astronomer Karl Bohlin even dared to suggest that the center of the galaxy was in that direction: K. Bohlin, Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens handlingar 43:10 (1909).

128 couldn't wait that long to spread the news: It should be noted that Shapley sketched out his results earlier in smaller publications, but the full details were presented in both the Astrophysical Journal and Contributions from the Mount Wilson Observatory. 128 “now, with startling suddenness and definiteness”: HUA, Shapley to Eddington, January 8, 1918.

129 “You may have been completely prepared for the result”: Ibid.

129 “While I cannot pretend to have anticipated the view of the stellar system”: HUA, Eddington to Shapley, February 25, 1918.

129 “May I impose upon your time for a little while”: HP, Shapley to Hale, January 19, 1918.

129 “Start a messenger on a light-wave down the main highway from the center”: Ibid.

130 “the nearby spirals to either side much as the prow of a moving boat cuts through the waves”: Shapley (1920), p. 100.

130 “I believe the evidence is quite against the island universe theory of spirals”: HUA, Shapley to MacPherson, May 6, 1919.

130 “The observational problems opened up are unlimited”: HP, Shapley to Hale, January 19, 1918.

131 “The solar system is off center and consequently man is too”: Shapley (1969), pp. 59–60.

131 “this marks an epoch in the history of astronomy”: HUA, Eddington to Shapley, October 24, 1918.

131 “simply amazing”: Russell (1918), p. 412.

131 “certainly changing our ideas of the universe at a great rate”: HUA, Jeans to Shapley, April 6, 1919.

131 “always admired the way in which Shapley finished this whole problem”: Baade (1963), p. 9.

131 “super–Milky Way”: “Universe Multiplied a Thousand Times by Harvard Astronomer's Calculations,” New York Times, May 31, 1921, p. 1.

132 “Personally I am glad to see man sink into such physical nothingness”: Ibid.

132 says Shapley in the article: Shapley wrote Henry Norris Russell two weeks later that the Times' interview with him was actually a “fake … evidently a rehash of last year's news about the Hale lecture [Great Debate]. It was served up new because of my shift East, of which they had just heard.” HUA, Shapley to Russell, June 16, 1921.

132 Earth, proclaimed the headline, was now a “Rube”: Chicago Daily Tribune, May 31, 1921, p. 1.

132 “You have struck a trail of great promise…. I think you are right in making daring hypotheses”: HP, Hale to Shapley, March 14, 1918.

132 Though not possessing a good telescope, he organized a massive effort to measure the positions of hundreds of thousands of stars on plates taken at other observatories, partially with the help of state prisoners: Hetherington (1990b), p. 28.

132 roughly 30,000 light-years wide and 4,000 light-years thick: The full dimensions in Kapteyn's 1920 model were officially 60,000 light-years wide and 7,800 lightyears thick, but the stellar distributions out in those more distant regions were extremely low, making a precise border difficult to define. See Paul (1993), p. 155. Many references cite the 30,000-light-year width.

133 difficult for Kapteyn and his colleagues: Smith (1982), p. 69.

133 “building from above, while we are up from below”: Gingerich (2000), p. 201.

133 “carnival barker's certainty of truth”: Sandage (2004), p. 288.

133 quick to jump to conclusions based on meager observations: AIP, interview of Harry Plaskett by David DeVorkin on March 29, 1978.

133 “two different breeds of cats”: Smith (1982), p. 124.

133 “has never given the credit where it belongs”: MWDF, Adams to Hale, December 10, 1917.

133 “I have never seen a quicker mind”: Whitney (1971), p. 218.

134 Once Lindblad worked out the theory, Oort rounded up the evidence: Smith (1982), p. 157.

134 “With the plan of the sidereal system here outlined”: Shapley (1918d), p. 53.

134 “We may compare our galactic system to a continent”: MacPherson (1919), p. 334.

9. He Surely Looks Like the Fourth Dimension!

135 “the discovery of a universal formal principle”: Schilpp (1949), p. 53.

136 “It does not seem that something like that can exist!”: Fölsing (1997), p. 46.

136 “Newton, forgive me”: Schilpp (1949), p. 31.

137 “In all my life I have labored not nearly as hard”: Pais (1982), p. 216.

137 “I was beside myself with ecstasy for days”: Hoffmann (1972), p. 125.

138 “Spacetime tells mass how to move”: Ciufolini and Wheeler (1995), p. 13.

138 “When a blind beetle crawls over the surface of a curved branch”: Isaacson (2007), p. 196.

139 “Whether the theory ultimately proves to be correct or not”: Douglas (1957), p. 39.

140 “Newton's plant, which had outgrown its pot, and transplanted it to a more open field”: Ibid., p. 18.

140 “people seem to forget that I am an astronomer”: Ibid., p. 115.

140 “he couldn't talk at all”: AIP, interview of Hermann Bondi by David DeVorkin on March 20, 1978.

140 declared valuable to the “national interest”: Douglas (1957), p. 92.

141 Einstein was the first to do this: Einstein was actually prompted to do this after a discussion of general relativity with de Sitter in the fall of 1916. Kragh (2007), p. 131.

141 “Cosmological Considerations Arising from the General Theory of Relativity”: Einstein (1917).

141 “I compare space to a cloth”: Kahn and Kahn (1975), p. 452.

141 “It exposes me to the danger of being confined to a madhouse”: Isaacson (2007), p. 252.

142 “as required by the fact of the small velocities of the stars”: Translated in Lorentz, Einstein, Minkowski, and Weyl (1923), p. 188.

142 discussions in fact that inspired Einstein to conceive his spherical universe: Kerszberg (1989), pp. 99, 172.

143 “the frequency of light-vibrations diminishes”: De Sitter (1917), p. 26.

143 “amongst the most distant objects we know”: Ibid., p. 27.

143 “Einstein's universe contains matter but no motion”: Eddington (1933), p. 46.

143 “does not make sense to me”: Kahn and Kahn (1975), p. 453.

144 “systematically”: De Sitter (1917), p. 28.

145 “it will always remain beyond my grasp”: Smith (1982), p. 173.

145 he had early on suggested a specific test: Einstein (1911).

146 “This should serve for an ample verification”: Dyson (1917), p. 447.

146 “What will it mean … if we get double the Einstein deflection?”: Douglas (1957), p. 40.

146 “We are conscious only of the weird half-light of the landscape”: Eddington (1920), p. 115.

147 “Cottingham, you won't have to go home alone”: Douglas (1957), p. 40.

147 “One thing is certain, and the rest debate”: Ibid., p. 44.

147 These were the results that Eddington and Dyson stressed in their reports: See Dyson, Eddington, and Davidson (1920).

147 “LIGHTS ALL ASKEW IN THE HEAVENS”: New York Times, November 10, 1919, p. 17.

147 Eddington admitted he was unscientifically rooting for Einstein: Eddington (1920), p. 116.

148 “I hoped it would not be true”: Douglas (1957), p. 44.

148 “We met in quick succession Their Eminences”: LOA, Curtis Papers, Curtis to Campbell, May 11, 1921.

148 “He surely looks like the fourth dimension!” Ibid.

148 “bombshell … which quite blew up the meeting of the Academy”: HUA, Shapley to Russell, May 4, 1925.

148 “I am really getting pretty tired of the fundamentalist's attitude of the opponents of relativity”: HUA, Russell to Shapley, May 21, 1925.

10. Go at Each Other “Hammer and Tongs”

149 The year 1920 was one of achievements: My thanks to Virginia Trimble for pointing out some of these interesting facts in a review of the debate written for its seventy-fifth anniversary in 1995. See Trimble (1995) and also Streissguth (2001), p. 42.

150 “homeric fight”: De Sitter (1932), p. 86.

150 “done to death”: NAS, Abbot to Hale, January 3, 1920.

150 “I pray to God that the progress of science will send relativity to some region of space beyond the fourth dimension”: HP, Abbot to Hale, January 20, 1920.

150 Abbot wondered … island-universe theory: Hoskin (1976a), p. 169; Smith (1983), p. 28; NAS, Abbot to Hale, January 3, 1920.

150 “daring innovator …”; “… and more often concluded ‘not proven’ than ‘not so’”: Struve (1960), p. 398.

151 “Perhaps Harvard is amateurish, compared with Mount Wilson”: HUA, Shapley to Russell, February 12, 1919.

151 worried how he would come across: Shapley was increasingly uncomfortable at Mount Wilson, where he didn't get along with deputy director Walter Adams. Adams strongly criticized Shapley's model of the galaxy when it first came out, questioning the way Shapley cut corners in reaching his conclusions. Shapley blamed Adams's disapproval on “professional jealousies.” (See HUA, Director's Correspondence, Seth Nicholson to Shapley, November 6, 1921.)

151 Curtis was known to be a dynamic lecturer; Shapley feared he would look bad by comparison: The role of the Harvard appointment on Shapley's performance at the debate was first discussed by British historian Michael Hoskin. Historic accounts of the Great Debate previous to Hoskin were based solely on the printed publication of the debate. Hoskin was the first to unearth archival materials on both the session and its background. See Hoskin (1976a).

151 “I am sure that we could be just as good friends if we did go at each other ‘hammer and tongs’”: HUA, Curtis to Shapley, February 26, 1920.

151 “‘take the lid off’ and definitely attach each other's view-point”: Ibid.

151 “I have neither time nor data nor very good arguments”: HUA, Shapley to Russell, March 31, 1920.

152 “two talks on the same subject”: HP, Shapley to Hale, February 19, 1920.

152 “My sympathies are with the audience”: HUA, Shapley to Abbot, March 12, 1920.

152 “We could scarcely get warmed up in 35 minutes”: HP, Curtis to Hale, March 9, 1920.

152 compromised at forty minutes: HUA, Abbot to Shapley, March 18, 1920.

152 “If you or he wish to answer points made by the other”: HUA, Shapley Papers, Hale to Curtis, March 3, 1920.

152 For Curtis it was $2 for the stagecoach to San Jose, then another $100 for the round-trip railroad ticket: LOA, Curtis Papers, Curtis to Campbell, April 8, 1920.

152 When the train broke down … to collect a few native ants: AIP, interview of Harlow Shapley by Charles Weiner and Helen Wright on August 8, 1966.

152 “growth and development” … in weather forecasting: NAS, Program of Scientific Sessions, Annual Meeting, April 26, 27, 28, 1920.

153 “Dr. Harlow Shapley, of the Mount Wilson solar observatory”: “Scientists Gather for 1920 Conclave” (1920), p. 38.

153 two friends of Harvard president A. Lawrence Lowell … were in the audience to size him up: Bok (1978), p. 250.

153 “just got a new theory of Eternity”: Shapley (1969), p. 78.

153 conference dinner was the following night: NAS, Academy press release, “America's Academicians Meet in Washington,” April 19, 1920.

153 Shapley did save the typescript of his talk: Subsequent Shapley lecture quotes are taken from HUA, Shapley Papers, “Debate MS.”

154 “so much greater weight” … “be used as checks or as secondary standards”: Shapley (1918d), p. 43.

154 wondering whether he should change his approach on the fly: HUA, Curtis to Shapley, June 13, 1920.

154 some of his slides, displaying his essential points, do survive: All the major points are discussed in Hoskin (1976a), pp. 178–81.

155 eleven “miserable” Cepheids: HUA, Shapley to Russell, March 31, 1920.

155 Everyone in essence went home maintaining the beliefs they held: Fernie (1995), p. 412.

156 “came out considerably in front”: Hoskin (1976a), p. 174.

156 “gift of the gab”: Ibid. There's some evidence that Shapley got wind of this gossip about his poor speaking skills. Once at Harvard, he wrote his old boss George Hale that he was planning a series of lectures. “It turns out that I have some of the knacks of entertaining a general audience (as I rather suspected would be the case if I got a little experience)—not too much dignity, you know, some enthusiasm, and an increasing confidence.” HL, Walter Adams Papers, Shapley to Hale, October 3, 1921.

156 “He has … a some what peculiar and nervous personality” … “more balance more force and a broader mental range”: HUA, G. R. Agassiz to Lowell, April 28, 1920.

156 “Yes, I guess mine was too technical”: HUA, Curtis to Shapley, June 13, 1920.

156 At first Curtis wasn't keen on publishing his comments: HUA, Curtis to Shapley, June 13, 1920.

156 “generally observed in composing telegrams” … “shoot our arrows into the air”: HUA, Curtis to Shapley, August 2, 1920.

157 “ten pages of buncombe”: HUA, Shapley to Curtis, July 27, 1920.

157 “Should I go ahead, shoot my shot (or wad)”: Ibid.

157 “at least a brief statement of how you explain them if not island universes”: HUA, Curtis to Shapley, September 8, 1920.

157 “appear fatal to such an interpretation”: Shapley and Curtis (1921), p. 192.

157 “I see no reason for thinking them stellar or universes”: HUA, Shapley to Russell, September 30, 1920.

157 “the island universe theory must be definitely abandoned”: Shapley and Curtis (1921), p. 214.

159 Van Maanen was the descendant of an aristocratic family … a rare find at the time: Berendzen and Shamieh (1973), p. 582, and Seares (1946).

159 “One always returns to one's first love,” he scribbled on the title page of a 1944 paper on stellar parallaxes: Sandage (2004), p. 127, and van Maanen (1944).

159 “Do not use this stereocomparator without consulting A. van Maanen”: Trimble (1995), p. 1138.

159 played a good game of tennis: AIP, interview of Nicholas U. Mayall, June 3, 1976.

160 “He could go to a dinner and soon have the whole table laughing”: Shapley (1969), p. 56.

160 An accomplished chef: Sandage (2004), p. 129.

160 “Van Maanen and I are in ill-favor because we do or try to do too much”: HUA, Shapley to G. Monk, January 28, 1918.

160 van Maanen always seemed to see this effect: Hetherington (1990b), p. 30.

160 Ritchey was then using Mount Wilson's 60-inch telescope … details never before captured: Ibid., pp. 31–33.

160 at first measured no variation but got permission from Ritchey to keep the plates to study them further: HP, van Maanen to Hale, May 2, 1916; Hale to Chamberlin, December 28, 1915.

160 he chose thirty-two stars … would be negligible: Hetherington (1990b), p. 35.

161 “If the results … could be taken at their face value”: Van Maanen (1916), pp. 219–20. John Duncan, just appointed director of the Wellesley College Observatory, in Massachusetts, took a long trip west to visit observatories in the summer of 1916. There he assisted in giving the new 100-inch mirror its first coat of silver and wrote Slipher that “van Maanen, who is a very enthusiastic Dutchman, has measured with the Blink some photographs of Messier 101 made some years apart and gets what seems to be certain evidence of a motion along the arms of the spiral.” LWA, Duncan to Slipher, July 14, 1916.

161 meant … the nebula's edge had to be traveling faster than the speed of light: Shapley (1919e), p. 266.

161 van Maanen followed all the precautions: Hetherington (1990b), p. 37.

161 “While the recent revival of the notion that spiral nebulae are mere distant constellations”: HP, Chamberlain to Hale, January 31, 1916.

161 “might indicate that these bodies are not as distant as is usually supposed to be the case”: Hetherington (1974b), pp. 52–53.

161 “So that we do not know yet if this is an island universe!”: HP, van Maanen to Hale, December 17, 1917.

162 “His wide experience in astrometric work”: HL, Walter Adams Papers, Adams to John C. Merriam, August 15, 1935.

162 “a much greater time interval will probably be necessary before nebular rotations can be definitely established”: Hetherington (1990b), p. 26.

162 “The mean of five measures each of which is not worth a damn”: LOA, Curtis Papers, Curtis to Campbell, July 11, 1922.

162 “entirely in agreement with some speculations in which I have recently been indulging”: Jeans (1917a), p. 60.

162 both van Maanen and Jeans began to calculate higher masses for the spirals: Smith (1982), p. 40.

164 seemed to imply his methods were valid: Hetherington (1990b), p. 42.

164 “would be so bold as to question the authenticity of the internal motions”: Smart (1924), p. 334.

164 “I finished … my measures of M51”: HUA, van Maanen to Shapley, May 23, 1921.

164 “Congratulations on the nebulous results!”: HUA, Shapley to van Maanen, June 8, 1921.

164 “I think that your nebular motions are taken seriously now”: HUA, Shapley to van Maanen, September 8, 1921.

164 “raise a strong objection to the ‘island-universe’ hypothesis”: Van Maanen (1921), p. 1.

164 “which, obviously, are extremely improbable”: Ibid., p. 5.

164 “a great number of very distant stars … crowded together [to] give the impression of nebulous objects”: Lundmark (1921), p. 324.

165 “speak for a large distance”: Ibid., p. 326.

165 Shapley began to feel sizable pressure: After Lundmark published a paper in 1922 criticizing some of Shapley's research, Shapley undiplomatically wrote Lundmark that “there will be little gain if either of us … strive to pick to pieces small and irrelevant points…. Think how many flaws or hasty conclusions you or I might find in your big paper on the distances of globular clusters.” HUA, Shapley to Lundmark, July 15, 1922. Lundmark was deeply upset by Shapley's remarks and did stop his criticism of van Maanen's work for a while, lest others start putting his own findings under a microscope. HUA, van Maanen to Shapley, October 21, 1922. Robert Smith points out that Lundmark had the opportunity to remeasure van Maanen's plates during a stay at Mount Wilson in the early 1920s and was briefly convinced that van Maanen had detected some real motions in the spirals, which made him deem the island-universe theory “rather hopeless.” But by 1924 additional study convinced Lundmark he had been wrong, returning him to the island-universe fold. See Smith (1982), p. 108.

165 “celestial speed champion” … “many millions of light years” away: Slipher (1921), p. 6.

165 “increases the probability”: Öpik (1922), p. 410.

165 “Shapley couldn't swing the thing alone” … “and I might keep Shapley from too riotous an imagination,—in print”: HP, Russell to Hale, June 13, 1920.

166 “I would rather do astronomy”: DeVorkin (2000), p. 169.

166 “Chief Observer or something of the sort”: HUA, Julian L. Coolidge to Shapley, November 24, 1920.

166 He, a bit miffed, curtly turned it down: HUA, Shapley to A. Lawrence Lowell, December 10, 1920.

166 try him out for a year as chief of staff: George Hale first made this suggestion in a letter to Harvard president Lawrence Lowell. “You might give Dr. Shapley for a year some position such as you recently offered him for a longer period,” he wrote. “This would enable you to test his scientific and personal qualifications, with the purpose of appointing him Director in the case of a favorable outcome…. I am willing to give him a leave of absence for a year if you wish to try this plan.” HP, Hale to Lowell, December 11, 1920. Complete behind-the-scenes details on Shapley's struggle to garner the Harvard appointment is found in Gingerich (1988).

166 “a kind of rotating galaxy for ideas”: Hoagland (1965), p. 429.

166 bounding up the stairs two steps at a time: Payne-Gaposchkin (1984), p. 155.

166 “He cast spells over people”: AIP, interview with Helen Sawyer Hogg by David DeVorkin on August 17, 1979.

166 band of enthusiastic workers: AIP, interview of Harry Plaskett by David DeVorkin on March 29, 978.

166 “he inspired us all”: AIP, interview of Leo Goldberg by Spencer Weart on May 16, 1978.

166 He also stubbornly ignored new scientific data at times: AIP, interview with Jesse Greenstein by Paul Wright on July 31, 1974.

166 “I thought I told you that I left Mount Wilson just to avoid this ordeal”: HL, Walter Adams Papers, Shapley to Gianetti, July 29, 1921.

166 tendered his resignation ten days before the Washington debate took place: LOA, Curtis to Campbell, April 16, 1920.

167 “the biggest mistake he ever made”: AIP, interview with C. Donald Shane by Elizabeth Calciano in 1969.

167 “the California combination of instruments PLUS climate”: Osterbrock, Gustafson, and Unruh (1988), p. 146.

167 “You play golf don't you? Well, this is my golf”: Stebbins (1950), June 24.

167 “memorable set-to” … “I have always thought that the clubs we wielded at each other….”; “watching the strife with interest”: HUA, Curtis to Shapley, July 10, 1922.

168 “photographing, photographing….” … “hunt for novae and variables”: LOA, Curtis to Aitken, January 2, 1925.

168 “I am copying that instrument in my design far more than any other”: LOA, Curtis to Aitken, March 16, 1934.

11. Adonis

169 “Adonis”: HUB, Box 7, Grace's memoirs.

169 “Had we been casting”: HUB, Box 8, Anita Loos remembrance.

169 adding dubious credentials to his curriculum vitae: This may have been a family trait. Hubble's father was described by his family as working at certain positions, which it was later discovered he never held. See Christianson (1995), p. 12.

170 And the longer time went on, said astronomer Nicholas Mayall, who once worked with Hubble, the higher the pedestal got: AIP, interview of Nicholas U. Mayall by Bert Shapiro, February 13, 1977.

170 he ruled his domestic realm with a firm puritanical hand, a strictness that was balanced by the more forgiving and accessible mother: HUB, Box 8, Helen Hubble memoir.

170 permitted to stay up past his bedtime: Ibid.

170 In high school: Facts concerning Hubble's high school accomplishments come from HUB, Box 2.

170 “He always seemed to be looking for an audience to which he could expound some theory or other”: Christianson (1995), p. 31.

171 “outlandish” career choice: Ibid., p. 40.

171 Hubble compromised by taking science classes … as well as … classics: HUB, Box 25, undergraduate course book.

172 “Motor cars, at last, were successfully competing with horses”: HUB, Box 1, Folder 23, pp. 1–2.

172 “whiz” at calculus, who “often utterly dumfounded” the professor: HUB, Box 19, John Schommer to Grace Hubble, May 15, 1958.

172 best physics student: HUB, Box 25, “The Daily Maroon,” January 26, 1910.

172 Chicago promoters were eager for him to turn professional: HUB, Box 7, “University of Chicago, 1906–1910, 1914–1917,” p. 3.

172 Good in academics but not “mere bookworms” … “moral force of character”: Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911).

173 “man of magnificent physique, admirable scholarship, and worthy and lovable character”: HUB, Box 15, Millikan to Edmund James, January 8, 1910.

173 three years on an annual stipend of fifteen hundred dollars: HUB, Box 25, “The Daily Maroon,” January 26, 1910.

173 “considerable ability. Manly”: Osterbrock, Brashear, and Gwinn (1990), p. 4.

173 “had transformed [Hubble], seemingly, into a phony Englishman, as phony as his accent”: Christianson (1995), p. 64.

173 “I sometimes feel that there is within me, to do what the average man would not do”: Ibid., p. 67.

173 “Why not be first in Rome?”: HUB, Box 8, Grace's memoirs.

174 translating what may have been legal correspondence: Christianson (1995), p. 86.

174 All this time he was actually teaching at the high school in New Albany, Indiana … dedicated the school's 1914 yearbook to him: HUB, Box 22A.

174 “So I chucked the law”: HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.” Hubble was eventually awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of California in 1949.

175 “splendid specimen,” who showed “exceptional ability”: Osterbrock, Brashear, and Gwinn (1990), p. 5.

176 “Send us three hundred words expressing your ideas on the habitability of Mars”: Frost (1933), p. 217.

176 “Those who have visited a large observatory on such a night”: Ibid., p. 205.

176 “So you say that each of those points of light is a sun”: Ibid., p. 207.

177 Frost himself was slowly losing his eyesight due to cataracts: Christianson (1995), p. 95.

178 “Suppose them to be extra-sidereal [outside the Milky Way] and perhaps we see clusters of galaxies”: Hubble (1920), p. 75.

178 “But it shows clearly the hand of a great scientist groping toward the solution of great problems”: Osterbrock, Brashear, and Gwinn (1990), p. 7.

178 “questions await their answers for instruments more powerful than those we now possess”: Hubble (1920), p. 69.

178 “I have offered Hubbell [sic] a position with us at $1200. per year”: HP, Hale to Adams, November 1, 1916.

179 he didn't have the money to offer his graduating student a well-paid position: HP, Henry Gale to Adams, April 4, 1917.

179 Within days Hubble asked Frost for a letter of recommendation … a military reservation on Lake Michigan, north of Chicago: Osterbrock, Brashear, and Gwinn (1990), pp. 8–9.

179 “scimpy”: Christianson (1995), p. 101.

179 Hubble had already sent a letter: MWDF, Hubble to Hale, April 10, 1917.

179 “to renew as soon as you are able to accept it”: MWDF, Hale to Hubble, April 19, 1917.

180 “Stirring times”: Osterbrock, Brashear, and Gwinn (1990), p. 9.

180 rendered unconscious at one point by a shell exploding nearby: HUB, Box 7, Grace's memoir.

180 no “wound chevrons” were authorized: HUB, Box 25, discharge certificate.

180 “I barely got under fire”: Christianson (1995), p. 109.

180 posh dinner hosted by the best and the brightest of British astronomy: Ibid., p. 110.

181 “My interest has for the most part been with nebulae especially photographic study of the fainter ones”: MWDF, Box 159, Hubble to Hale, May 12, 1919.

181 “I had been hoping” … “as we expect to get the 100-inch telescope into commission very soon”: MWDF, Hale to Hubble, June 9, 1919.

181 arrived in New York on August 10: Osterbrock, Brashear, and Gwinn (1990), p. 11.

181 “Just demobilized. Will proceed Pasadena at once unless you advise to contrary”: MWDF, Hubble to Hale, August 22, 1919.

181 September 11, 1919: Christianson (1995), p. 122.

12. On the Brink of a Big Discovery—or Maybe a Big Paradox

182 He was a man of endless enthusiasms: It's been suggested that Hale suffered a severe form of manic depression, a psychiatric syndrome marked by periods of elevated mood, physical restlessness, and sharpened creative thinking, interlaced with bouts of depression. See Sheehan and Osterbrock (2000).

182 “a driving power which was given no rest until it had brought his plans and schemes to fruition”: Wright (1966), p. 17.

182 “He has reached a place where scientific work and honors are not enough”: Osterbrock (1993), p. 157.

182 In the summer of 1906 he spent a weekend at the home of John Hooker … secret of their mysterious nature: Wright (1966), pp. 252–53; Osterbrock (1993), p. 92.

183 Hale's younger brother, Will, once called George the greatest gambler in the world: Wright (1966), p. 184.

183 “We don't pay for this!”: Ibid., p. 254.

183 “that glass was in the bottom of the ocean”: Wright (1966), p. 263. Evelina Hale through these times fiercely protected her husband and wished the 100-inch glass disk gone in a letter dated December 24, 1910, to astronomer Walter Adams, who served as the Mount Wilson Observatory's acting director in Hale's absence. In that message she beseeched Adams to send no bad news to Hale during his recovery.

184 made a good case: See Sheehan and Osterbrock (2000), p. 105.

184 he initiated the grinding: Osterbrock (1993), p. 142.

184 “there was more publicity … than was desirable”: MWDF, Adams to Hale, July 5, 1917.

185 “To add to the gloom”: Adams (1947), p. 301.

185 first Hale then Adams returned … at 2:30 in the morning: Wright (1966), pp. 318–20.

185 “High in heaven it shone”: Noyes (1922), pp. 2–3.

186 “Very little has been done with it … because of the war contracts in the shop”: HUA, Shapley to R. G. Aitken, October 14, 1918.

186 Ritchey, for example, had to turn his attention to making lenses and prisms: Osterbrock (1993), pp. 144–45.

186 “In such an embarrassment of riches”: Hale (1922), p. 33.

187 took about an hour then to make the journey in a motorcar: HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.”

187 Seven days later Hubble tried out the 60-inch telescope … “striking changes have happened [in t] since 1916”: HUB, Box 29, Logbook; HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.”

187 “He was photographing at the Newtonian focus of the 60-inch”: Humason (1954), p. 291.

187 what he called his “magic mirror”: HUB, Box 1, “The Exploration of Space” lecture.

187 Hubble's first night on 100-inch: HUB, Box 29, Logbook.

188 The variable nebula soon became his observational “mascot”: This is according to Milton Humason. HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.”

188 each was entered into his official Observing Book: HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.”

188 got a paper published fairly quickly: Seares and Hubble (1920).

188 “to determine the relation of nebulae to the universe”: LWA, Hubble to Slipher, April 4, 1923.

188 “We are on the brink of a big discovery—or maybe a big paradox”: HUA, Russell to Shapley, September 17, 1920.

188 “I have just gone into the lecture room, pressed a button, and heard records”: LOA, Curtis Papers, Curtis to Campbell, January 26, 1922.

189 Hubble cultivated an air of sophistication and restraint: AIP, interview with Nicholas U. Mayall, June 3, 1976.

189 occasionally blow smoke rings out into the room: HUB, Box 7, Grace's memoir.

189 “stuffed shirt”: CA, interview with Jesse L. Greenstein by Rachel Prud'homme, February 25, March 16, and March 23, 1982.

189 “write an inter-office memo”: AIP, interview of Halton Arp by Paul Wright, July 29, 1975.

189 wearing jodhpurs, leather puttees, and a beret while observing: AIP, interview of Horace Babcock by Spencer Weart on July 25, 1977.

189 “Bah Jove” … “Missourian tongue” … “Hubble disliked van Maanen from the time he himself arrived on Mount Wilson” … “Hubble just didn't like people”: Shapley (1969), p. 57.

190 “conscientious slacker”: AIP, interview of Dorritt Hoffleit by David DeVorkin on August 4, 1979.

191 “lend some color to the hypothesis that the spirals are stellar systems”: Hubble (1920), p. 77.

191 the term non-galactic didn't mean the spirals were necessarily “outside our galaxy”: Hubble (1922), p. 166.

191 “half a dozen of the largest spirals in addition to Andromeda should be followed carefully for novae”: LWA, Hubble to Slipher, February 23, 1922.

192 “I must confess that I am rather dazed by [Hubble's] letter”: LWA, Wright to Slipher, March 7, 1922.

192 particularly fired up about a nebula classification scheme: LWA, Hubble to Slipher, February 23, 1922.

192 “pathologically shy around colleagues with whom he had little … contact”: Sandage (2004), p. 525.

193 “What a powerful instrument the 100-inch is in bringing out those desperately faint nebulae”: HUA, Shapley to Hubble, August 3, 1923.

194 “It appears to be a great star cloud that is at least three or four times as far away as the most distant of known globular clusters”: Shapley (1923b), p. 2.

194 “the most distant object seen by man, another universe of stars”: “A Distant Universe of Stars” (1924), p. x.

194 “neither galactic in size nor stellar in composition”: Shapley (1923a), p. 326.

194 “Eleven … are clearly Cepheids”: Hubble (1925b), p. 412.

194 “N.G.C. 6822 lies far outside the limits of the galactic system”: Ibid., p. 410.

194 “This was the astronomical observing experience at its best”: Sandage (2004), p. 178.

195 “You begin with deskwork”: Mayall (1954), p. 80.

195 Hale considered coffee “unwholesome”: HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.”

195 were offered two pieces of bread, two eggs, butter and jam: This regimen continued until 1955. Sandage described it as their “starvation rations.” Sandage (2004), pp. 191–92.

195 he washed his own dish afterward: Christianson (1995), p. 123.

196 “You knew where you stood with him”: HUB, Box 7, Grace Hubble interview with Humason.

196 Messier objects were as familiar to him as the alphabet: Mayall (1954), p. 80.

196 wispy nebula that Shapley had reported seeing on two occasions: HL, Adams Papers, Shapley to Adams, July 12, 1923.

196 “Shapley object is probably an accident”: HUB, 100-inch Logbook.

13. Countless Whole Worlds … Strewn All Over the Sky

199 a whine, a series of loud clicks, and then a final clang as the instrument was secured into place: HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.”

199 The famous Andromeda nebula, the target of choice: All details of Hubble's observations of Andromeda are taken from HUB, 100-inch Logbook.

200 numbering each nova and variable: HUB, Box 1, Hubble Addenda.

202 “Dear Shapley:—You will be interested to hear that I have found a Cepheid variable in the Andromeda Nebula”: HUA, Hubble to Shapley, February 19, 1924.

203 figuring out early on, soon after he arrived at Mount Wilson, that they were pulsating stars: Shapley (1914).

204 “Here is the letter that has destroyed my universe”: Payne-Gaposchkin (1984), p. 209.

204 “the crop of novae and of the two variable stars in the direction of the Andromeda nebula”: HUA, Shapley to Hubble, February 27, 1924.

205 “He was standing at the laboratory window, looking at a plate of Orion”: HUB, Box 7, Grace's memoir.

205 Hubble and Grace, now widowed, renewed their acquaintance: Osterbrock, Brashear, and Gwinn (1990), p. 14.

205 “Do you think you can stay up later than an astronomer?”: HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.”

206 with none of Hubble's family members in attendance: Over the succeeding years, Hubble withdrew even further from his family, as if wishing his midwestern roots would just wither away and die. His younger brother, Bill, a dairy farmer, took responsibility for his mother's care, allowing Edwin to pursue his dreams unimpeded. See Christianson (1995), pp. 98–99, 166.

206 liked to mingle with the elite of Hollywood society rather than astronomers: Dunaway (1989), p. 69.

207 “A stranger could drop raspberry soufflé on the rug without hearing a murmur”: Ibid.

207 “quite out of the common”: A comment made by Susan Ertz, a friend of Grace's from elementary school. HUB, Box 1, Folder 3.

207 “was Watson to his Sherlock Holmes”: HUB, Box 7, “Hubble: A Biographical Memoir.”

207 found even more variables: Hubble (1925a).

207 hundreds of pages now filed away in an archive: The Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

207 he sometimes cut corners in the darkroom: AIP, interview of Nicholas U. Mayall by Bert Shapiro, February 13, 1977; interview of Martin Schwarzschild by Spencer Weart on June 3, 1977.

208 “one lump of beauty mixed with lots of incredible boredom and discomfort”: AIP, interview of Jesse Greenstein by Paul Wright on July 31, 1974.

209 “You … may be interested to hear that variable stars are now being found”: LWA, Hubble to Slipher, July 14, 1924.

209 Slipher had already heard: LWA, Slipher to Hubble, August 8, 1924.

209 The news was rapidly spreading on the astronomical grapevine: HUB, Box 1, “Edwin Hubble and the Existence of External Galaxies” by Michael Hoskin.

209 “What do you think of Hubble's Cepheids”: HUA, van Maanen to Shapley, March 14, 1924.

209 “I feel it is still premature to base conclusions on these variables”: HUA, Hubble to Shapley, August 25, 1924.

210 “exciting” … “What tremendous luck you are having”: HUA, Shapley to Hubble, September 5, 1924.

210 most boisterous promoter: Shapley soon published a popular article titled “Beyond the Bounds of the Milky Way.” HP, Shapley to Hale, April 2, 1925.

210 “I am wasting a good deal of time”: LWA, Hubble to Slipher, December 20, 1924.

211 “Finds Spiral Nebulae Are Stellar Systems”: New York Times, November 23, 1924, p. 6.

211 “the rapid progress of knowledge, and the changing state of speculative theories”: Doig (1924), p. 99.

211 “undoubtedly among the most notable scientific advances of the year”: Berendzen, Hart, and Seeley (1984), p. 134.

211 “Heartiest congratulations on your Cepheids in spiral nebulae!”: HUB, Russell to Hubble, December 12, 1924.

212 “considerable interest” in the outcome: “Welfare of World Depends on Science, Coolidge Declares” (1925), p. 9.

212 “The real reason for my reluctance in hurrying to press”: Hubble to Russell, February 19, 1925, in Berendzen and Hoskin (1971), p. 11.

212 “I believe the measured rotations must be abandoned”: Ibid.

212 “an ass!!”: HUB, Stebbins to Hubble, February 16, 1925.

212 “We walked back to the group in the lobby”: Ibid.

213 “I have always believed that the spirals are island universes”: LOA, Curtis to Aitken, January 2, 1925.

213 “Dr. Hubble … has found that the outer parts of the two most conspicuous nebulae”: HUB, Box 9.

213 The Cepheids were fast becoming the gold standard for measuring distances: Russell (1925), p. 103.

213 “The great distances recently derived have made rapid rotation impossible”: Luyten (1926), p. 388.

214 “van Maanen's measurements have to go”: Berendzen, Hart, and Seeley (1984), p. 123.

214 Parasitologist Lemuel Cleveland of the School of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins was also honored: “Honor for Dr. Edwin P. Hubble” (1925), pp. 100–101.

214 “To scientists, … the infinite and the infinitesimal are merely relative terms, alike in importance”: “Infinite and Infinitesimal” (1925), p. B4.

215 The Hubbles had just bought an acre lot in San Marino: HUB, Box 7, Grace's memoir. In the late 1970s the Hubble home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. See Pasadena Star-News, April 5, 1977.

215 “If an old scrap of paper, published within the sacred period”: Blades (1930), p. J10.

215 Duncan found three variable stars within the Triangulum nebula, M33: Duncan (1922).

216 colleague at Mount Wilson, George Ritchey, had photographed thousands of “soft star-like condensations” in Andromeda: Ritchey (1910a), p. 32.

216 suggested that strict divisions were in place in Mount Wilson: Shapley (1969), p. 58.

216 “I faithfully went along with my friend van Maanen”: Ibid., p. 80.

217 Shapley was so certain of his position that he proceeded to take a handkerchief out of his pocket and rub out the marks: This story was first published in Smith (1982), p. 144. Smith noted that he found no documentary proof but judged there were “some pointers to its possible truth.” Allan Sandage elaborates on the tale in his history of Mount Wilson. Sandage (2004), pp. 495–98.

217 “spiral nebulae” were on his agenda and that “cosmogony” would be his future field: HUA, Shapley to Kellogg, June 10, 1920, and December 1, 1920.

217 “The work that Hubble did on galaxies was very largely using my methods”: Shapley (1969), pp. 57–58.

217 “in the fields of observation”: Louis Pasteur, Inaugural Lecture, University of Lillé, December 7, 1854.

218 “There is just not one universe”: HUB, Box 28, Scrapbook.

218 catchiest headline: Ibid.

218 “more systems of stars than there are hairs in the whiskers of Santa Claus”: Blades (1930), p. J10.

218 “Professor Edwin Hubble announces that he has found another universe”: “The Universe, Inc.” (1926), 133.

218 “Astronomy, as a matter of popular interest”: “Crowd Jams Library for Hubble Talk” (1927).

218 “It is like looking at those lights”: Blakeslee (1930).

218 did by chance discover “Comet Hubble” in August 1937: HUB, 100-inch Logbook.

218 “I am commuting to a spiral nebula”: HUB, Box 8, biographical memoir.

219 “astronomy is a science in which exact truth is ever stranger than fiction”: Jeans (1929), p. 8.

219 “How terrifying! … nothing at all!”: HUB, Box 10, Folder HUB 195.

220 “I want to get away from both the words universe and nebula”: HUA, Shapley to Hubble, May 29, 1929.

220 didn't see any pressing need to abolish the “venerable precedent” of preserving the word galaxy: HUA, Hubble to Shapley, May 15, 1929.

220 “The term nebulae offers the values of tradition”: Hubble (1936), p. 18.

220 quickly pinpointed whether they came from the East or West Coast of the United States: Smith (1982), p. 151.

220 “I want to compare them with the novae in spirals”: HUA, van Maanen to Shapley, February 18, 1925.

220 “I am completely at a loss to know what to believe”: HUA, Shapley to van Maanen, March 8, 1925.

220 “what to think of your confounded spirals”: HUA, Shapley to van Maanen, April 6, 1931.

221 “van Maanen's contradiction disturbed her husband so greatly”: Sandage (2004), p. 528.

221 “a decided internal motion in the same direction”: Hale, Adams, and Seares (1931), p. 200.

221 “They asked me to give him time. Well, I gave him time, I gave him ten years”: HUB, Box 16, remembrance by Grace Hubble to Michael Hoskin, March 7, 1968.

221 Van Maanen was sure that Hubble had been heading up a cabal to deny him a fair share of time on the 100-inch. That's when van Maanen slapped his sign on the front of the Blink, warning others not to use the machine without his permission: Christianson (1995), p. 231.

221 The skirmish even extended into the dining room atop Mount Wilson: AIP, interview of Olin Wilson by David DeVorkin on July 11, 1978.

222 “Hubble skillfully employed trial tactics”: Hetherington (1990a), p. 23.

222 “no evidence of motion”: HUB, Box 3, Folder 52.

222 “Its language was intemperate in many places”: HL, Adams Papers, Adams to Merriam, August 15, 1935.

222 resolution involved delicate diplomacy: Hetherington (1990a), p. 10; Sandage (2004), p. 215.

223 “no compromise, no compromise”: AIP, interview of Nicholas U. Mayall, June 3, 1976.

223 “I do not feel that Hubble's attitude in this matter was in any way justified”: HL, Adams Papers, Adams to Merriam, August 15, 1935.

223 “Print what you like, but print it elsewhere”: HP, Seares to Hale, January 24, 1935. Historian Robert Smith was the first to track down the correspondence on this matter and bring this skirmish to light. See Smith (1982), pp. 135–36.

223 “The attitude of van Maanen in the matter was much superior to that of Hubble”: HL, Adams to Merriam, August 15, 1935.

223 “recognized this curious ‘blind spot’ in almost every important dealing”: HL, Adams to Merriam, February 19, 1936.

224 “Great men have to go their own way”: Christianson (1995), p. 225.

224 “With Edwin, it was out of sight, out of mind”: Ibid., p. 61.

224 accompanied by a paper by van Maanen in which he acknowledged the existence of possible errors: Van Maanen's first draft essentially just restated his results. There's considerable evidence that Adams then intervened and dictated some concessionary phrases, which van Maanen agreed to. Brashear and Hetherington (1991), pp. 419–20.

224 brief note came out in the May 1935 issue of the Astrophysical Journal: Hubble (1935).

224 had van Maanen's paper immediately follow: Van Maanen (1935).

224 whenever the two passed each other in the observatory hallways, they exchanged not a word: AIP, interviews of Nicholas U. Mayall, June 3, 1976, and February 13, 1977.

14. Using the 100-Inch Telescope the Way It Should Be Used

225 “shun us like a plague”: Eddington (1928), p. 166.

225 more than three hundred delegates attended the gathering, where they were entertained with boat excursions down the city's noted canals: LWA, Lampland to Slipher, July 8, 1928.

225 “Most of the Americans appear to be over here this summer”: LWA, Lampland to Slipher, August 8, 1928.

225 appointed acting chairman of the IAU Nebulae Commission: Stratton (1929), p. 250.

226 his magisterial 1926 paper: Hubble (1926).

226 “consistent with the marked tendency already observed”: Humason (1927), p. 318.

226 de Sitter encouraged Hubble at this time to extend the redshift measurements of the spiral nebulae: This is according to Milton Humason as stated in HUB, Box 7, Grace's memoir.

226 “The Flagstaff assault on these objects”: HUA, Shapley to Russell, May 22, 1929.

227 “I didn't feel much enthusiasm” … “test of endurance”: HUB, Box 7, Grace's memoir.

227 one summer as a teenager … taking any astronomer who wanted to go with him: Sandage (2004), p. 527.

227 Mount Wilson hotel: The hotel was built in 1905 by the Mount Wilson Toll Road and Hotel Company. The original structure burned down in 1913 but was soon rebuilt and remained open until 1963. Sandage (2004), p. 24.

227 tracked the animal down and shot him between the eyes: Sutton (1933b), p. I4.

228 Humason was even put in charge of scheduling telescope time: Sandage (2004), p. 185.

229 He accomplished this feat by establishing a ladder of measurements: Hubble (1929a).

229 to directly obtain the distances to six relatively nearby galaxies: The sixth galaxy was actually done indirectly; it was a companion to one of the five and hence assumed to be a similar distance.

229 “Mr. Strömberg has very kindly checked the general order of these values…. Solutions of this sort have been published by Lundmark”: Hubble (1929a), p. 171.

230 He didn't even like Lundmark: Smith (1982), p. 183.

230 Hubble held up publication of his data to make sure he had nailed down every argument: HUA, Hubble to Shapley, May 15, 1929.

230 “There is more to the advance of science than new observations and new theories”: Hetherington (1996), p. 126.

231 “For such scanty material, so poorly distributed, the results are fairly definite”: Hubble (1929a), p. 170.

232 “I agreed to try one exposure”: AIP, interview of Milton Humason by Bert Shapiro, around 1965.

232 “that the mountain itself is rolling eastward with the earth at ten times an express train's speed”: Sutton (1933a), p. G12.

232 MacCormack calculated a final velocity of 3,779 kilometers per second: Humason (1929), p. 167.

232 The success spurred Mount Wilson officials: AIP, interview of Milton Humason by Bert Shapiro, around 1965.

232 Humason was ready to quit: Ibid.

232 “The high velocity for N. G. C. 7619 derived from these plates”: Humason (1929), p. 167.

233 “in part regretting a lost opportunity to pursue such a relation himself”: Smith, (1982), p. 184.

233 “the speed of spiral nebulae is dependent to some extent upon apparent brightness, indicating the relation of speed to distance”: Shapley (1929), p. 565.

233 Within two years, Hubble and Humason measured forty more galaxies: Hubble and Humason (1931).

233 “Humason's adventures were spectacular”: HUB, Box 2, “The Law of Red-Shifts,” George Darwin Lecture, May 8, 1953.

233 “My God, Nick, this is a big shift!”: AIP, interview of Nicholas U. Mayall by Bert Shapiro, February 13, 1977.

233 “panther juice”: Ibid. In the interview transcript, “juice” was substituted for a four-letter word that Mayall used in the oral interview.

233 “you are now using the 100-inch telescope the way it should be used”: AIP, interview of Nicholas U. Mayall by Bert Shapiro, February 13, 1977.

234 “You can't imagine how electric the atmosphere was”: Ibid.

234 Humason had the benefit of experience: AIP, interview of Nicholas U. Mayall, June 3, 1976.

235 “The intense publicity that swirled around Mount Wilson's nebular department”: Sandage (2004), p. 284.

235 Even though less than 5 percent of Mount Wilson's major publications in this era involved cosmology: Allan Sandage tallied up the papers and, after discounting the inconsequential ones, found that only 33 out of 760 papers in the Mount Wilson Contribution series, which ran from 1906 to 1949, concerned either galaxies or the universe. Sandage (2004), p. 481.

235 “Some spectroscopists began to feel resentful”: Ibid., p. 284.

235 “The outstanding feature”: Hubble (1929a), p. 173.

236 “great beacons scattered through space”: Hubble (1937), p. 15.

236 “The interpretation … should be left to you”: HUB, Hubble to de Sitter, September 23, 1931.

236 “It is difficult to believe that the velocities are real”: “Stranger Than Fiction” (1929), p. F4.

236 referred to the velocities of the galaxies as “apparent”: Hubble (1929a), p. 168.

236 “Not until the empirical sources are exhausted”: Hubble (1936), p. 202.

236 “I have always been rather happy that … my part in the work was, you might say, fundamental”: AIP, interview of Milton Humason by Bert Shapiro around 1965.

236 “It has been remarked by several astronomers that there appears to be a linear correlation”: De Sitter (1930), p. 169.

236 “The possibility of a velocity-distance relation among nebulae has been in the air for years”: HUB, Hubble to de Sitter, August 21, 1930.

237 “great pioneer work of V. M. Slipher”: Hubble and Humason (1931), pp. 57–58.

237 “I regard such first steps as by far the most important of all”: LWA, Hubble to Slipher, March 6, 1953.

237 “emerged from a combination of radial velocities measured by Slipher at Flagstaff”: Hubble (1953), p. 658.

237 “if cosmogonists to-day have to deal with a Universe that is expanding”: Stratton (1933), p. 477.

15. Your Calculations Are Correct, but Your Physical Insight Is Abominable

239 “I am not sure that I can”: “Report of the RAS Meeting in January 1930” (1930), p. 38.

240 “I suppose the trouble is that people look [only] for static solutions … that does not matter”: Ibid., p. 39.

240 “a concept outside their mental framework”: Kragh (2007), p. 139.

240 Lemaître soon read the remarks Eddington made: Eisenstaedt (1993), p. 361; McVittie (1967), p. 295.

241 “This seems a complete answer to the problem we were discussing”: Smith (1982), p. 198.

241 calling it “ingenious”: De Sitter (1930), p. 171.

241 find him just by pursuing the sound of his full, loud laugh: McCrea (1990), p. 204.

241 “exceptionally brilliant … quite remarkable both for his insight”: HUA, Eddington to Shapley, May 3, 1924.

241 Lemaître traveled to the United States for further study … in order to meet Hubble and learn of the latest distance measurements of the spiral nebulae: Kragh (1987), pp. 118–19; Kragh (1990), p. 542.

242 introduce time into the deliberations: Other theorists began to try this out as well, making de Sitter's model nonstatic. It was a lively and active pursuit among theorists, who included Kornelius Lanczos in 1922, Hermann Weyl in 1923, and H. P. Robertson in 1928. All these transformations, however, were treated as mathematical solutions for largely academic purposes.

242 “demonstrate the possibility”: Friedmann (1922), p. 377.

242 “We shall call this universe the periodic world”: Ibid., p. 385.

243 “appear to me suspicious”: Einstein (1922), p. 326. Several months later, Einstein realized that he had based his negative opinion on an error in his calculations. He immediately wrote to the Zeitschrift für Physik that “Mr. Friedmann's results are correct and shed new light.” See Einstein (1923), p. 228.

243 They didn't take them seriously: AIP, interview of William McCrea by Robert Smith on September 22, 1978.

243 “combine the advantages of both”: Lemaître (1931a), p. 483.

243 “are a cosmical effect of the expansion of the universe”: Ibid., p. 489. The gravitational field of a galaxy, far stronger than the field outside it, keeps the galaxy intact during the expansion.

244 Lemaître even estimated a rate of cosmic expansion: Kragh (2007), p. 144.

244 inexplicably did not widely discuss this latest idea with his colleagues: Kragh (1987), p. 125.

244 “Your calculations are correct, but your physical insight is abominable”: Smith (1990), p. 57.

245 “not current with the astronomical facts”: Kragh (1987), p. 125.

245 “no time for an unassuming theorist without proper international credentials”: Deprit (1984), p. 371.

246 “brilliant discovery”: “Discussion on the Evolution of the Universe” (1932), p. 584.

246 “Imagine my surprise on being able to rustle together more than 150 references”: CA, Robertson to R. C. Tolman, July 7, 1932. In 1929 Robertson had also derived a cosmological model similar to Friedmann's and Lemaître's but did not recognize the dynamic nature of the universe hidden within his equations. Though aware of Hubble's newfound law concerning distance and redshifts, he didn't recognize it as observational proof for an expanding universe at the time. See Kragh (2007), pp. 142, 146.

246 reported as breathtaking in its grandeur and terrifying in its implications: “A Prize for Lemaître” (1934), p. 16.

246 “The theory of the expanding universe is in some respects so preposterous”: “Discussion on the Evolution of the Universe” (1932), p. 587.

246 “On the face of it”: Jeans (1932), p. 563.

246 Eddington first devised this picture: Eddington (1930), p. 669.

246 “embedded in the surface of a balloon”: Ibid.

247 “About every two weeks some of the men from Mount Wilson and Cal Tech came to the house”: HUB, Box 7, Grace's memoir.

247 British cosmologist E. Arthur Milne, for example, posited that the expansion of space-time was merely an illusion: Milne (1932); Hetherington (1982), p. 46.

247 the “tired photon” theory: Zwicky (1929a and 1929b).

248 Hubble worked for a number of years with Caltech theorist Richard Tolman: Hubble and Tolman (1935).

248 Hubble made the call that his data were too uncertain, which kept the expanding universe in play: Hetherington (1996), pp. 163–70. Historian Norriss Hetherington first pointed out Hubble's philosophical preference for an expanding, homogeneous universe, despite the noted astronomer's public statements that he was objectively testing all models. In the end, he preferred the simplicity and beauty of general relativity to dreaming up new laws of physics to fit his observations, as Zwicky was doing. Zwicky did not take this verdict sitting down. He famously accused Hubble and the “sycophants” among his young assistants with doctoring “their observational data, to hide their shortcomings and to make the majority of the astronomers accept and believe in some of their most prejudicial and erroneous presentations and interpretations of facts.”

248 “We cannot assume that our knowledge of physical principles is yet complete”: Hubble (1937), p. 26.

248 “a desire to show that the red shift was not an expansion”: AIP, interview with C. Donald Shane by Helen Wright on July 11, 1967.

248 Perusing Hubble's writings on the idea of an expanding universe: All quoted phrases in this paragraph are from Hubble (1937), pp. v and 26.

249 “around the earth in a second, out to the moon in 10 seconds”: Ibid., pp. 29–30.

249 “represent either actual recession (expanding universe) or some hitherto unknown principle of nature”: HUB, Box 15, Hubble to Harvey Zinszer, July 21, 1950.

249 “I just don't understand this eagerness”: Douglas (1957), p. 113.

16. Started Off with a Bang

250 “Would it not be more practical to have the herr professor come here”: “Einsteins Start Trip to America” (1930), p. 5.

250 to hunt for the sole twelve men in the world: “Relativity” (1930), p. A4.

250 “This reminds me of a Punch and Judy show”: “Einstein Battles ‘Wolves’” (1930), p. 1.

250 “his face … as smooth as a girl's”: Ibid., p. 2.

250 Arthur Fleming … first extended the invitation: Sutton (1930), p. A1.

251 steady round of private engagements: “Einstein's Date Book Crammed” (1931), p. A1; “Notables of World to Opening” (1931), p. B14; Feigl (1931).

251 Einstein laughed like a little boy: Hall (1931), p. 28.

251 “They cheer me because they all understand me”: Isaacson (2007), p. 374.

251 “Your husband's work is beautiful”: HUB, Box 8, “Biographical Memoir.”

251 Einstein had been given a room at Mount Wilson's main offices … issuing keys: AIP, interview of Nicholas U. Mayall by Norriss S. Hetherington on June 3, 1976.

252 “I have kept completely out of the Einstein excitement”: HP, Hale to Harry Manley Godwin, January 15, 1931.

252 carefully orchestrated expedition was arranged for Einstein: HL, Walter Adams Papers, Supplement Box 4, Folder 4.87.

253 young filmmaker named Frank Capra: In 1918 Capra had graduated from Throop Institute, later renamed the California Institute of Technology, with a BS degree in chemical engineering.

253 “And here he comes … down from the sun tower”: CA, Einstein Film Footage, 1931.

253 “This hundred-inch reflector was completed about thirteen years ago”: Ibid.

254 “Well, my husband does that on the back of an old envelope”: Clark (1971), p. 434.

254 After an early dinner the party returned to the 100-inch telescope: HL, Walter Adams Papers, Supplement Box 4, Folder 4.87.

254 on that day he at last conceded: “Einstein Drops Idea of ‘Closed’ Universe” (1931), p. 1.

254 “A gasp of astonishment swept through the library”: Christianson (1995), p. 210.

254 “the red shift of distant nebulae has smashed my old construction like a hammer blow”: “Red Shift of Nebulae a Puzzle, Says Einstein” (1931), p. 15.

254 “biggest blunder”: This is not a direct quote from Einstein. The Russian-American physicist George Gamow relayed this story in his autobiography, saying Einstein used the now-famous phrase while they were having a chat one day. Gamow (1970), p. 44. Ironically, at the start of the twenty-first century, astrophysicists reinserted the constant into their cosmological calculations to help them explain why the universe's expansion seems to be accelerating as the eons pass.

256 “made Einstein change his mind”: “Hubble to Visit Oxford” (1934).

256 “It remains to find the cause”: Lemaître (1931a), p. 489.

256 “beginning of time” … “philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me”: Eddington (1931), pp. 449–50.

256 “not believe that the present order of things started off with a bang”: Eddington made this remark in a series of lectures given at the University of Edinburgh, later published as Eddington (1928). See p. 85.

256 Hoyle using a similar description: Hoyle's radio lectures on the cosmos, in which he first used the term Big Bang, were later published. See Hoyle (1950), pp. 119, 124.

256 “I picture … an even distribution of protons and electrons”: Eddington (1933), pp. 56–57.

257 “If we go back in the course of time”: Lemaître (1931b).

257 Lemaître was spurred by the revelations of atomic physics: Kragh (2007), pp. 152–53.

257 “The evolution of the world can be compared to a display of fireworks”: Lemaître (1950), p. 78.

258 “Lemaître believed that God would hide nothing from the human mind”: Kragh (1990), p. 542.

258 Times had assuredly changed: Though Lemaître was both scientist and priest, he believed that science and theology should remain separate entities. He disagreed when Pope Pius XII in 1951 announced that the Big Bang cosmology confirmed the fundamental doctrines of Christian theology. “As far as I can see,” he said, “such a theory [of the primeval atom] remains entirely outside any metaphysical or religious question. It leaves the materialist free to deny any transcendental Being.” See Kragh (1987), pp. 133–34.

259 Baade was able to prove that there were two distinct kinds of Cepheid stars: Baade (1952).

259 Those who desired nature to be uniform breathed a huge sigh of relief: The astronomical community was aghast when Harlow Shapley went to the press and attempted to claim that he, not Baade, had first discovered the correction to Hubble's distance scale. What he actually did was go back to some of his old observations and simply confirm Baade's discovery after the fact. Sandage (2004), p. 310.

259 “Never in all the history of science”: De Sitter (1932), p. 3.

261 “a growing community of American astronomers … by the 1960s were concentrating to an unprecedented degree on the study of galaxies”: Kragh and Smith (2003), p. 157.

Whatever Happened to …

262 In 1900 Charles Yerkes moved to New York City: Miller (1970), p. 110.

262 Within a month, she married Wilson Mizner: Franch (2006), pp. 318–23.

262 maintains its status as the largest refractor: A 49-inch refractor was displayed at the 1900 Paris Exposition but was never used professionally and ultimately dismantled.

262 At the end of a long honeymoon in Europe, he and his bride took a balloon ride: Hoyt (1996), p. 233.

262 the observatory spent a decade fighting in court with his widow for control of his estate…. “opulent squalor” until her death at the age of ninety in 1954: The phrase “opulent squalor” was used by the Reverend Fay Lincoln Gemmell, who did chores for Constance while a theology student in the 1940s. Putnam (1994), p. 104.

264 “I have so little confidence in the theories of Lemaître, Eddington, et al. in this field that I shall follow the safe if not sane course of just sitting tight”: HUA, Curtis to Shapley, August 24, 1932.

265 He had hopes for erecting a big reflector for Michigan's use: J. Stebbins (1950). A 36-inch reflecting telescope, dedicated as the Heber Curtis Memorial Telescope, was erected in 1950 on Peach Mountain, northwest of Ann Arbor. It was devoted to the study of galactic and extragalactic structure. In 1967 the telescope was moved to the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

265 He always considered his work on the nebulae as his greatest contribution to astronomy: McMath (1942), p. 69.

265 “The truth is … that I have been enjoying from boyhood the things I liked most to do”: Wright, Warnow, and Weiner (1972), p. 99.

266 He moved to his ranch east of Pasadena, growing lemons, oranges, and avocados and dreaming of designing ever-bigger telescopes, with mirrors up to 320 inches in width: Osterbrock (1993), pp. 160–64.

266 controversial design for the Naval Observatory scope, worked out earlier in collaboration with the French astronomer Henri Chrétien, would later be used in many giant telescopes: Ibid., p. 282.

266 “very gracious, kindly person, a real gentleman”: AIP, interview of George Abell by Spencer Weart, November 14, 1977.

266 Ira Bowen was appointed instead, a decision that simply stunned Hubble: Sandage (2004), p. 530.

267 When Grace was about to make a turn into their driveway, though, she noticed Edwin breathing shallowly: Dunaway (1989), p. 247.

267 that rare individual who went from elementary school directly to a PhD: Sandage (2004), p. 192.

267 “My God, Bill,” he replied, “I've looked in an eyepiece all my life, I don't want to look in any more eyepieces”: AIP, interview of Milton Humason by Bert Shapiro around 1965.

267 “high noon of his scientific life”: Kopal (1972), p. 429.

268 His grave is marked by a solid granite rock upon which is inscribed, “And We by His Triumph Are Lifted Level with the Skies”: Bok (1978), pp. 254–58.

268 wrote a thirty-nine-page memoir: See Adams (1947).

268 in the early 1940s Hubble proved once and for all that … a spiral's arms are trailing as they rotate, not leading: Berendzen and Hart (1973), p. 91.

268 Just weeks before his death he finished the measurement of his five hundredth parallax field at the observatory's Pasadena headquarters: Seares (1946), p. 89.

268 “everywhere the two men went, the lambda was sure to go”: “Amiable Abbe” (1961), p. 42.

269 at last received news of the discovery: Deprit (1984), p. 391.