By Ronald Florence
Virtually a half-century after is crowning glory, the 200-inch Palomar telescope is still an unprecedented mix of enormous scale and microscope aspect. As large because the Pantheon of Rome and as heavy because the Statue of Liberty, this really good tool is so accurately equipped that its seventeen-foot reflect used to be hand-polished to a tolerance of 2/1,000,000 of an inch. The telescope's building drove a few to the threshold of insanity, made others nervous that mortals may glimpse heaven, and transfixed a complete country. Ronald Florence weaves into his account of the production of "the ideal desktop" a stirring chronicle of the start of massive technological know-how and a poignant rendering of an the US mired within the melancholy but attaining for the celebs.