Sir James Jeans

Scientist, Philosopher and Musician

Through Space and Time in the first half of the 20th Century

About the Book

Published in February 2021, this exciting new book explores the public and personal life of Sir James Jeans, a prominent astronomer, mathematician and philosopher in the early 20th century.

Publications by Sir James Jeans

Sir James Jeans wrote more than 10 books and over 100 scientific articles, for information about these please see here.


Take a look at some of the photos from the book.

“Through the first third of the 20th century…. physical science was transformed as never before or since. The nature of the atom was discovered (Rutherford, Curie) and much of the consequent knowledge of the structure of matter (Bragg, von Laue); knowledge of the nature of radiation was greatly advanced (Planck, Wien) and this was followed by the astonishing development of the quantum theory (Bohr, Born, Dirac, Heisenberg, Pauli); the nature of space-time in relation to matter and gravitation was explored with revolutionary consequences (Poincare, Lorentz, Einstein, Minkowski, Eddington). All this bore much of its precious fruit in applications to the study of the astronomical universe (Jeans, Hertzspring, Russell, Scwarzschild, Shapley, Hubble, Friedan, Lemaitre, Milne). The scientists named each made certain fundamental special contributions – some of them amongst the most important ever. Jeans knew them all – or almost all – as the well known photographs of the Solvay conferences of 1911 and 1913 show. It may be claimed that Jeans made original contributions of a wider variety than any of the rest, even if none were among the profoundest, and he found more ways of performing services to science than any of them. Besides making his own contributions he played key parts in making new developments widely known, first to scientific colleagues and then to the widest audiences that any scientist had ever had up to that time.

He played important roles in the organisation of science and the publication of research. Above all, he was a great pioneer of modern astrophysics partly in providing the theoretical background and methods required, partly in identifying basic problems and partly as a critic of current work, all in addition to making discoveries of his own. “

McCrea, W. H. 1978. Sir James Hopwood Jeans, Bulletin of the Institute of Physics, 29, 257-259.

Read a recent review about Sir James Jeans and his bestseller book The Universe Around Us.