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Monday, August 6, 2018

Nicolaus Copernicus and heliocentrism


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Polish astronomer best known saying that the earth was not the center of the universe. Writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said,


"Of all discoveries and opinions, none may have exerted a greater effect on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus. The world had scarcely become known as a round and complete in itself when it was asked to waive the tremendous privilege of being the center of the universe." (Wikiquote)


Science historian Alistair Cameron Crombie said,


"He is the supreme example of a man who revolutionized science by looking at the old facts in a new way." (Medieval and Early Modern Science, 1952)


Philosophy Edwin Arthur Burtt said,


"Copernicus had formed a rudimentary conception of scientific hypothesis, accommodated to his new astronomical method." (The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science, 1924)


The rest of this post is some quotes form Copernicus.




"For when a ship is floating calmly along, the sailors see its motion mirrored in everything outside, while on the other hand they suppose that they are stationary, together with everything on board. In the same way, the motion of the earth can unquestionably produce the impression that the entire universe is rotating." (De Revolutionibus Orbium Colestium, 1543)


"Finally, we shall place the sun himself at the center of the universe. All this is suggested by the systematic procession of event and the harmony of the whole universe, if only we face the facts, as they say 'with both eyes open'." (Quoted in the Copernican Revolution by Thomas Kuhn)


"Hence I feel no shame in asserting that this whole region engirdled by the moon and the center of the earth, traverse this grand circle amid the rest of the planets in an annual revolution around the sun. Near the sun is the center of the universe. Moreover, since the sun remains stationary, whatever appears as a motion of the sun is really due rather to the motion of the earth." (De Revolutionibus Orbium Colestium, 1543)