Seeing and Believing: The Story of the Telescope, or how we found our place in the universe

Richard Panek

‘A deft and beautiful book! Panek has turned his considerable talent to the subject of telescopes, their history, and how they changed our universe, and he’s hit a sweet spot of poetry and science. Seeing and Believing is about vision in its deepest sense.’ Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone

In 1609, Galileo fits two lenses inside a cylindrical tube, aims the tube at the sky, and forever changes the world. Seeing and Believing tells the story, discovery by discovery, of the telescope, one of the few inventions that have revolutionised our view of the universe and how we fit in to it. From Galileo himself to William Herschel who discovered Uranus, to George Ellery Hale who found both Mount Wilson and Mount Palomar observatories. Most fascinating is the character of the telescope itself, which designed solely to help us determine our place in the scheme of things, is an evolving metaphor for how we see ourselves.

Richard Panek brings us an engaging and spirited chronicle of the humbling journey that has made humans smaller and the universe infinitely vaster than we ever imagined.

Reviews of Seeing and Believing: The Story of the Telescope, or how we found our place in the universe