By Ronald Florence
Nearly a half-century after is finishing touch, the 200-inch Palomar telescope continues to be an extraordinary mixture of monstrous scale and microscope element. As large because the Pantheon of Rome and as heavy because the Statue of Liberty, this incredible tool is so accurately outfitted that its seventeen-foot replicate used to be hand-polished to a tolerance of 2/1,000,000 of an inch. The telescope's development drove a few to the threshold of insanity, made others frightened that mortals could glimpse heaven, and transfixed a complete kingdom. Ronald Florence weaves into his account of the production of "the ideal computing device" a stirring chronicle of the delivery of massive technological know-how and a poignant rendering of an the United States mired within the melancholy but achieving for the celebrities.