|Title:||Peter Robertson: Radio Astronomer: John Bolton and a New Window on the Universe (book review)|
|Citation:||"Hooker, C., (2017) Peter Robertson: Radio Astronomer: John Bolton and a New Window on the Universe (book review), Historical Records of Australian Science 28(2) 194 - 200 Published: 15 November 2017, https://doi.org/10.1071/HR17903"|
|Abstract:||The founding and flourishing of an entirely new field, radio astronomy, must rate among the most impressive episodes in the history of Australian science. Radio astronomy was as deeply symbolic of a new sense of national confidence in its early years, as it was a signal of the sweeping social changes to economy and society that transformed the nation after the war. Prior to the war, it was nearly impossible for a graduate to find employment as a physicist. Afterwards - could there be a stronger symbol of Australian aspirations, or of investment in research, than the famous 'Dish' telescope at Parkes? Or, as it turns out, any better exemplification of the archetypal Australian hero—ingenious, laconic, humorous, astonishingly stubbornly dedicated—than its Yorkshire émigré designer and first director, John Bolton? Peter Robertson, who has published a history of the Parkes telescope, has now produced a matching biography of Bolton. Both books have been welcomed for their public memorialising of this too-easily forgotten part of Australia's history. Hitherto, while comprehensively covered by Woody Sullivan's magnum opus Cosmic Noise (2009) and in the now-dated sociology of science classic Astronomy Transformed (Mulkay and Edge 1976), the history of radio astronomy has been the preserve of technical experts only. Written in an easy lucid prose, this book aims to reclaim Bolton for public history as well as to celebrate, for astronomers, all that one of their most important colleagues achieved. One of the charms of the story of radio astronomy lies in its small, string-and-sealing wax beginnings, and how this nonetheless produced discovery after discovery, completely reshaping conceptions of the Universe. Bolton was a key player in this story, and one of the advantages provided by this biography is the capacity to assess Bolton’s contribution coherently—something difficult to pick out of the more comprehensive historical works.|
|Description:||academic book review|
|Type of Work:||Article, Letter|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Papers and Publications. Sydney Health Ethics|
|Book-review-Peter-Robertson-PP-2017.pdf||360.95 kB||Adobe PDF|
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