The Lord of Uraniborg is a comprehensive biography of Tycho Brahe, father of modern astronomy, famed alchemist, and littérateur of the sixteenth-century Danish Renaissance. Written in a lively and engaging style, Victor Thoren's biography offers fresh perspectives on Tycho's life and presents new analyses of virtually every aspect of his scientific work. A range of readers interested in astronomy, history of astronomy, and the history of science will find this book fascinating.
Summary: Dr. Thoren rocks! Rating: 5
OK, I'm biased because I used to work for the man at Indiana University. I typed much of the manuscript and enjoyed every word. He took a very dry topic and made it interesting for the non-historian-of-science. Tyco himself was quite the character, outside of his intellectual accomplishments.
Summary: Excavating the heavens Rating: 4
Victor Thoren has done a remarkable job with what looks like relatively scant material. He draws as detailed a picture as possible not only of Tycho the astronomer and nobleman, but also the man. And it is in this latter department that his lack of material and references is sensed. Nevertheless, as far as the science and technology is concerned, he has done an excellent job in rebuilding for us all of Tycho's instruments and reconstructing the environment and atmosphere where these remarkable measurements were made.
This is not an "easy" read for the lay person, but will be rewarding eventually with a little determination.
Summary: "Uraniborg" Scholarly, Fascinating, and Comprehensive Rating: 5
"The Lord of Uraniborg" is a scholarly description of the life of Tycho Brahe, the eccentric and brilliant Danish astronomer whose work laid the foundation for the discovery of the motion of the planets by Johannes Kepler. Author Victor Thoren demolishes a number of myths about Brahe, while at the same time his exhaustive research into historical records reveals a number of fascinating aspects of Tycho's life.
In the case of Tycho Brahe, truth is both stranger and more entertaining than any fiction that has been created about him. For example, he did not die of a burst bladder following a night of excessive drinking. But he did die of uremia caused most likely by an enlarged prostate which prevented urination. His dying words to Kepler, "let me not seem to have lived in vain", could not have been scripted better for a man who sought immortality through science.
Readers should be aware that this book is not written in a style intended for the general public. It is a work of historical scholarship, and is packed with the kind of detail that some may find trivial. However, the sheer weight of these historical records (letters and official documents) helps to create a vivid and convincing portrait of this unique individual.