Preface

I was drawn to the history of modern cosmology because of a childhood fascination with astronomy and because the development of theories of the universe is one of the most exciting stories in all of science. I began to ponder the mysteries of the universe as a teenager, when for several years I made observations of variable stars with a 2.4-inch refractor and submitted them to the American Association of Variable Star Observers. The present book grew out of courses in the history of astronomy and cosmology that I have taught over the past 10 years. In some of these courses the subject was presented from the point of view of the history of mathematics, and there was a greater emphasis on mathematical details than is the case here.

I am grateful to Brian Baigrie for inviting me to contribute a book on the history of cosmology to the Greenwood series. I have benefited from discussions with Alexander Jones, John Steele, Nathan Sidoli, Elizabeth Burns, and Matthew Edwards as well as with the students in my courses. The help of two student research assistants, Steven Teasdale and Shayan Hamidi, is greatly appreciated. Jeff Kent composed the illustrations and James Ingram of the University of Toronto library photographed images from the library's collection. Finally, I would like to thank my wife and daughter for their patience during the hours I sat in front of the computer writing.

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