Books et al.Astrophysics

The planet that wasn't there

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Science  18 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6267, pp. 1481
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4438

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The story of the planet Vulcan, whose existence, although never confirmed, was once considered a foregone conclusion, is one of the most colorful examples of a scientific misstep that, in a somewhat convoluted fashion, paved the way for an astonishing intellectual revolution. Levenson's book beautifully captures the drama of the tireless search for this celestial object, which— according to the Newtonian gravitational theory that was prevailing at the time—had to exist. In doing so, it concisely and lucidly provides the necessary details for appreciating Einstein's monumental achievement.