THE PARADOX OF OLBERS PARADOX by Stanley L. Jaki

THE PARADOX OF OLBERS PARADOX

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This book has the misfortune to be a major work on a minor subject. Olbers Paradox, stated simply, lies in the fact that the night sky is dark--whereas, logically, an infinite number of stars, distributed in infinite space, would create a sky ablaze with extraordinary brilliance. What is the significance of the Paradox? What effect has it had upon the history of science? What is its importance today? These are the questions that Jaki sets out to answer in this book. His methods are properly historical, and he traces the statement and resolutions of the Paradox from the ancients and medievals to Galileo, Newton, Halley, Wilhelm Olbers himself, and from the indecision of the nineteenth century to the rediscovery of the Paradox in the twentieth. His approach is both synthetic and critical--in the latter case, often ad hominem in mood; he is aghast, for instance, that a thinker of such stature as Whitehead could have ignored the Paradox completely. His style is lively and even colorful and despite the dissertation-like quality both of subject and methodology, the book will pique the interest of mathematicians, astronomers and practitioners of related sciences--including laymen with an eye for the esoteric.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1969
Publisher: Herder & Herder