ISBN is

978-0-465-01575-7 / 9780465015757

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About the book:

In 1990 and 1992, a NASA-led team of scientists from the COBE project changed the way we view the universe. They showed that the microwave radiation that fills the universe must have come from the Big Bang itself—effectively proving this theory beyond any doubt. It was one of the greatest scientific findings of our generation, perhaps of all time.In this no-holds-barred account, COBEs originator and Project Scientist, John Mather, and science writer John Boslough provide the intimate and startling details of how big science is done today. They tell of the discovery of the cosmic background radiation and of the fifteen-year struggle to design, build and launch the COBE satellite, including the unwelcome controversy when one team member breached the projects publication policy and stepped into the limelight alone.The Very First Light presents a rarely seen inside account of the world of big science, where cooperation and competition battle for supremacy. At the height of the project, more than 1,500 scientists, engineers, designers, and support staff worked on the spacecraft. The project was especially difficult because two of the three instruments were cooled to within a few degrees of absolute zero.When the Challenger exploded in 1986, the shuttle program was grounded indefinately, leaving the COBE with no route to space. The last available Delta rocket was approved for the mission, but now the team had to slash the spacecrafts five-ton weight in half. The story of this feat provides a remarkable behind-the-scenes look into the high-stakes, frenetic world of a big science project and NASA itself.The Very First Light is a portrait of science no serious reader will want to miss.

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