UCL science historian shortlisted for Aventis Prize
20 April 2006
Professor Arthur Miller (UCL Science & Technology Studies) has been shortlisted for the Aventis Prize for Science Writing, for his book 'Empire of the Stars: Obsession, Friendship, and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes'.
Shortlisted for the General Prize, 'Empire of the Stars' tells the story of how in August 1930, on a voyage from Madras to London, a young Indian looked up at the stars and contemplated their fate. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar - Chandra, as he was called - calculated that certain stars would suffer a violent death, collapsing virtually to nothing. This extraordinary claim, the first mathematical description of black holes, rankled one of the greatest astrophysicists of the day, Sir Arthur Eddington. When Chandra expounded his theory in front of the assembled great and good of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1935, Eddington subjected him to humiliating public ridicule, thereby setting into motion one of the greatest scientific feuds of the twentieth century - and hindering the progress of astrophysics for nearly forty years.
Professor Miller said: "I am delighted and honoured by the Royal Society's recognition of my book."
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Image: Professor Arthur Miller