CDN$ 58.92
  • List Price: CDN$ 74.95
  • You Save: CDN$ 16.03 (21%)
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
On Tycho's Island: Tycho ... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

On Tycho's Island: Tycho Brahe and his Assistants, 1570-1601 Paperback – Sep 30 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 58.92
CDN$ 55.40 CDN$ 74.83

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from Amazon.ca, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reissue edition (Feb. 5 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521101069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521101066
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 776 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) became his era's "patron of science par excellence": he used his smarts, aristocratic status and access to Denmark's king, Frederick II, to turn the island of Hven into Uraniborg, a community built for the advancement of arts and sciences, staffed with scholars invited from all over Europe. Christianson, a historian at Iowa's Luther College, explains how Brahe built Uraniborg with labor from Hven's farm village of Tuna; what exalted friendships Brahe established, and what his Latin verse says about that extended familia; how Brahe's complex household, observatory, printing press, mapmaking projects and chemistry labs operated; and how the Uraniborg group disseminated its methods, ideas and students across northern Europe. Because Brahe's wife was a commoner, his sons could not inherit all his privileges; he spent much of the 1590s on schemes to ensure that Uraniborg would survive him. But his plans crashed under Frederick's absolutist successor, who persecuted Brahe's friends and drove him along with his enterprise to German exile. Christianson devotes 130 pages to a "Biographical Directory" of Uraniborg associates, including Brahe's most famous collaborator, solar-system theorist Johannes Kepler. If the brief sketches there seem aimed at fellow historians, the front half of the book will certainly interest a broader audience: Christianson's narrative combines the intrigue of Reformation courts with the excitement of early modern science. It was in this period that experimental methods and European technology found their real launching pads. Without Brahe, Brahe's friends and his citadel of research, such developments would have happened elsewhere and differently--if at all. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

We think of Big Science, with heavy government support and huge teams working on long-term projects, as typically modern, but Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was thinking big in the late 16th century. While Copernicus laid the theoretical foundation for the new astronomy, it was Tycho (1546-1601) who brought it to fruition with his meticulous observations and the regular publication of his results. A Danish noble educated in German universities, Tycho inherited landed wealth, but the life of a courtier did not interest him. In 1575, he convinced King Frederick II to give him as his fief the island of Hven, where he constructed a world-class observatory, with numerous instruments he designed and built himself. Tycho's plans involved considerable social upheaval on Hven. The project drafted the local peasants and fishermen for ``boon labor,'' and brought in specialists from all over Europe. At its peak, Uraniborg (as the science center was called) supported not only Tycho's large family and servants, but a substantial group of assistants. After a day's work, the extended family of Tychos scholars would gather for a communal dinner, at which they would improvise Latin verse, drink deeply, and discuss their findings in the light of neo-Platonist philosophy. Christianson (History/Luther College) puts Tycho's scientific achievements in the context of the daily life, intellectual milieu, and courtly politics of the era. He provides full scholarly apparatus, including short biographies of Tycho's assistantssome, like Johannes Kepler, famous in their own right, others comparatively obscurea useful glossary of technical terms, and numerous illustrations. Despite his often dry style, Christianson provides a double share of fascinating insights into the era and the career of perhaps the greatest astronomer of the pre-telescope era. A gold mine for anyone interested in one of the giants of Renaissance science. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
3
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
1
1 star
0
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
While the author has obviously gathered TONS and TONS of tidbits and certainly has an indepth knowledge of this subject, the communication broke down somewhere in the process of gluing it all together into a book. The first half of the book is interesting if you can get past all of the redundant statements and amazing overuse of the word familia (in annoying italics) to describe Tycho's operating principles on his island. If you are totally unfamiliar with how life was during this time, it may be eye opening, however, if you have read anything about it, it may be eyeclosing. Each chapter in part 1 seemed to loop around itself, just presenting enough new material to prevent me from putting it down for good. Perhaps the best of this book is part 2 where the author gives thumbnail sketches of the people he was associated with and worked with on his island of Hven. I felt that it was much more connected and definitely less repetitive. However, I wasn't really looking for a collection of micro-biographies when I purchased this book.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be readable and informative. As a scientist and a history buff, I enjoyed Christianson's ability to combine the story of the birth of big science with the interesting details of Northern European Rennaisance life. Tycho's Island includes a cast of interesting characters, some who became the stars of the next generation of scientists and astronomers, some who were mapmakers, instrument makers, even printers and papermakers. The book also includes a picture of Rennaisance life that makes Tycho and his familia come alive to the modern reader. The details of marriage negotiations, castle building, entertaining and poetry makes the book a real page-turner. The short capsule biographies at the end of the book show the widespread influences of Tycho's brilliant work. Kepler may be the best-known member of this group of assistants, but he is just one of a number of interesting and important characters.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Christianson's book about Tycho and the birth of Big Science on the Danish Renaissance island of Hven. The writing is fresh and interesting, the details of daily life are lively, the discussions of patronage and scientific method offer new insight into the pre-telescopic world of astronomy. The illustrations are excellent. The discussions of alchemy and astrology are facinating. I especially liked the story of Tycho's sister's sad romance and his daughter's failed engagement. The biographies of Tycho's "students" and their lives after Hven show the influences of his scientific method and the international character of the scientific world in the 16th and early 17th century. Highly reccommended.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
16th century scientist Tycho Brahe receives relatively little mention in modern times: this explores his entire range of scientific activities which go beyond his better-known astronomical explorations. A well-rounded portrait of Brahe the man as well as his many scientific interests and his works on his private island is presented in a study which includes intriguing facts on his contemporaries.
Diane C. Donovan
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xb11f6ed0) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb11d0a68) out of 5 stars An excellent book about the birth of big science April 19 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Christianson's book about Tycho and the birth of Big Science on the Danish Renaissance island of Hven. The writing is fresh and interesting, the details of daily life are lively, the discussions of patronage and scientific method offer new insight into the pre-telescopic world of astronomy. The illustrations are excellent. The discussions of alchemy and astrology are facinating. I especially liked the story of Tycho's sister's sad romance and his daughter's failed engagement. The biographies of Tycho's "students" and their lives after Hven show the influences of his scientific method and the international character of the scientific world in the 16th and early 17th century. Highly reccommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb11d0ed0) out of 5 stars A Fine Social History & Biography Jan. 31 2008
By Gio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As it needs to be, On Tycho's Island is as much a history of 16th Century Danish society as it is a biography of one of the most dashing characters in the history of science. Tycho's observations, from his "research center" on the remote island of Hven, were made with the naked eye; the goal of such meticulous work was primarily to measure exactly the orbital periods of the planets. These observations were not displaced and supplanted by the next generation of astronomers, who had Galileo's telescope to use. Though Tycho didn't live to see it, his labors were soon consummated by the discoveries of Johannes Kepler.

There's a much larger theme, however, in this book: the funding of Tycho's research. Some antagonists of proactive government these days are fond of claiming that great science in the past was achieved without grants and subsidies from government. Yes, perhaps on some occasions, but Tycho's work was massively funded by the Danish monarchy and its bureaucracy, and later by other princely German governments. Tycho spent as much time and energy supplicating government funds as any modern scientist spends on grant applications. Big science can be expensive. In Tycho's case, no capitalist would have had the slightest interest; nothing from which money could be made could possibly have been expected from the tables of observations from Hven, published on government funds. No explicit argument is thrust upon the reader, suggesting that investment of tax money in basic science is a proper function of any government that can afford it, but that is the obvious implicit conclusion.

Tycho died in Germany, after an all-night "banquet" with his princely patron. The cause of death at the time was considered to be the painful holding of his urine due to the protocol of not mincturating before your liege lord. One can only wonder... Was he suffering from kidney problems, or perhaps in the later stages of prostate cancer? In any case, Tycho has long been one of my personal heroes. In the winter of 1966, I rode a motorcycle all the way from Rome to Denmark just to visit Hven. The ruins of Tycho's observatory turned out to be little more than a few foundation stones. Hven, by the way, is owned by Sweden, a point of huge irritation to the Danes.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb11d0ef4) out of 5 stars A great combination of science and history March 29 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be readable and informative. As a scientist and a history buff, I enjoyed Christianson's ability to combine the story of the birth of big science with the interesting details of Northern European Rennaisance life. Tycho's Island includes a cast of interesting characters, some who became the stars of the next generation of scientists and astronomers, some who were mapmakers, instrument makers, even printers and papermakers. The book also includes a picture of Rennaisance life that makes Tycho and his familia come alive to the modern reader. The details of marriage negotiations, castle building, entertaining and poetry makes the book a real page-turner. The short capsule biographies at the end of the book show the widespread influences of Tycho's brilliant work. Kepler may be the best-known member of this group of assistants, but he is just one of a number of interesting and important characters.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb11d0e1c) out of 5 stars A fascinating and scholarly study of Tycho Brahe. May 8 2000
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
16th century scientist Tycho Brahe receives relatively little mention in modern times: this explores his entire range of scientific activities which go beyond his better-known astronomical explorations. A well-rounded portrait of Brahe the man as well as his many scientific interests and his works on his private island is presented in a study which includes intriguing facts on his contemporaries.
Diane C. Donovan
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb1005354) out of 5 stars On Tycho's Island is still on the island... March 24 2000
By Rick Van Natta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
While the author has obviously gathered TONS and TONS of tidbits and certainly has an indepth knowledge of this subject, the communication broke down somewhere in the process of gluing it all together into a book. The first half of the book is interesting if you can get past all of the redundant statements and amazing overuse of the word familia (in annoying italics) to describe Tycho's operating principles on his island. If you are totally unfamiliar with how life was during this time, it may be eye opening, however, if you have read anything about it, it may be eyeclosing. Each chapter in part 1 seemed to loop around itself, just presenting enough new material to prevent me from putting it down for good. Perhaps the best of this book is part 2 where the author gives thumbnail sketches of the people he was associated with and worked with on his island of Hven. I felt that it was much more connected and definitely less repetitive. However, I wasn't really looking for a collection of micro-biographies when I purchased this book.


Feedback