So it wasn't Nero after all! (Trekkies will get this.)

The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe - Thomas Levenson

One of my favorite things about libraries is that you stand a very good chance of just happening upon an interesting book. Over the weekend, I stopped into the library so that a friend could drop off a DVD. Another friend pointed out a book that spelled out Vulcan proudly on its cover. And just like that I had checked it out and stowed it away in my bag. The book was The Hunt for Vulcan:...And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe by Thomas Levenson. I have to applaud them for the gorgeous cover which not only loudly proclaims the home planet of some super rad aliens but features our galaxy and the elliptical paths of our planets. It's the kind of cover I'd love to have as decoration on my wall. Levenson takes the reader on an historical journey through physics, cosmology, and mathematics. From Newton to Einstein, a detailed exploration is made explaining why scientists from the past believed that a small planet named Vulcan caused Mercury to bend near the Sun and deform its elliptical orbit. He talks about the scientific method and how science is so unique because it is a system of theories and hypotheses which is constantly changing. Scientists seek to shed light on the mysteries of the universe and to do so means that there will inevitably be errors that must be corrected over time as instruments improve and knowledge expands. Einstein's theory of relativity and the relationship of gravity between the planets threw Newton's theories for a loop (I hope that planet joke went down well for you) and changed the way we see the cosmos. It's a really great little book that I think all science nerds can appreciate. (It was super quick also!)