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

Richard Panek

‘Richard Panek’s eye-popping book – brief enough to be gobbled at one sitting, rich enough to re-open immediately – is a story of ever-expanding horizons.’ Guardian

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

    • ‘Richard Panek’s eye-popping book – brief enough to be gobbled at one sitting, rich enough to reopen immediately – is a story of ever-expanding horizons.’ Guardian
    • ‘This book is a winner.’ New Scientist
    • ‘A truly cosmic yarn is wonderfully told in Seeing and Believing. Richard Panek’s book is part of a welcome publishing phenomenon that includes Longitude and Fermat’s Last Theorem: pocket-sized, wide-ranging and stylishly written.’ Financial Times