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Civilized Life in the UniverseScientists on Intelligent Extraterrestrials$
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George Basalla

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171815

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195171815.001.0001

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Percival Lowell

Percival Lowell

Champion of Canals

(p.67) CHAPTER FIVE Percival Lowell
Civilized Life in the Universe

George Basalla

Oxford University Press

American astronomer Percival Lowell adopted Schiaparelli’s canali and used them in his theories about Mars, its irrigation canals, and its advanced civilization. Lowell built an observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and spent the last two decades of his life observing and mapping the Martian landscape, refining his theories about the planet, and writing four popular books on Mars. A firm believer in the existence of Martian canals, Lowell refused to accept the work of distinguished astronomers that contradicted his theories. Lowell’s view of Mars finally found its niche in popular culture, notably science fiction. In part, Lowell’s popularity stemmed from the fact that his conception of Mars resonated with the American experience in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Keywords:   canali, irrigation canals, Martian canals, Flagstaff, Mars, observatory

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