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Copernicus : A Very Short Introduction - Owen Gingerich


A Very Short Introduction

Paperback Published: 1st August 2016
ISBN: 9780199330966
Number Of Pages: 160

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Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) is a pivotal figure in the birth of modern science, the astronomer who "stopped the sun and set the earth in motion." Born in Poland, educated at Cracow and then in Italy, he served all of his adult life as a church administrator. His vision of a sun-centered universe, shocking to many and unbelievable to most, turned out to be the essential blueprint for a physical understanding of celestial motions, thereby triggering what is commonly called "the Copernican revolution." A first edition of his world-changing treatise, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, has most recently been auctioned for more than $2 million.

In this book, leading historian of science Owen Gingerich sets Copernicus in the context of a rapidly changing world, where the recent invention of printing with moveable type not only made sources more readily available to him, but also fueled Martin's Luther's transformation of the religious landscape. In an era of geographical exploration and discovery, new ideas were replacing time-honored concepts about the extent of inhabited continents. Gingerich reveals Copernicus' heliocentric revolution as an aesthetic achievement not dictated by observational "proofs," but another new way of looking at the ancient cosmos.

Deftly combining astronomy and history, this Very Short Introduction offers a fascinating portray of the man who launched the modern vision of the universe. Out of Gingerich's engaging biography emerges the image of a scientist, intellectual, patriot, and reformer, who lived in an era when political as well as religious beliefs were shifting.

Industry Reviews

"In eight short chapters that carefully combine biographical and conceptual elements, Gingerich gives readers the benefit of his unparalleled knowledge of Copernicus and his work." - Michel-Pierre Lerner, Journal for the History of Astronomy "An easy read, with a great deal to teach us all about both science and history. In all, a most enjoyable book." - Juan A. Añel, Contemporary Physics

List of illustrations Acknowledgments Prologue

1. Copernicus, the young scholar 2. The architecture of the heavens 3. Copernicus's vision 4. Canon days and the Little Commentary 5. Competing with Ptolemy 6. Rheticus 7. De revolutionibus 8. The book nobody read

Appendix 1: Copernicus's alternative to the equant Appendix 2: De revolutionibus as a recipe book for planetary positions References Further reading Index

ISBN: 9780199330966
ISBN-10: 0199330964
Series: Very Short Introductions
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: 1st August 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 17.4 x 11.2  x 0.7
Weight (kg): 0.1

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