Thursday, December 22, 2011

"A More Perfect Heaven" by Sobel / Copernicus and Wittenberg University

A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos

While making teddy bear clothes this evening (oh, I'm giving away that they don't come from Santa's workshop), I was listening to CBC radio's newscast followed by "As It Happens."  Posted below find the third section, the last 30 min.  It contains two fascinating pieces.

The first one, six minutes in length, discusses the current exhibit in Quebec at the "Museum of Religions of the World" and the use of religious swear words in Quebec.  It is a rather ironic, little interview with the curator.  The second one, the remaining 24 min., are an interview with the author of a book called "A More Perfect Heaven."  The discussion is about Copernicus' life and his revolutionary discoveries.  The interesting part, which the author brings out, a Lutheran from Wittenberg University comes to his town (illegally, no Lutherans allowed in this Polish Catholic town) to get Copernicus' work published, which he succeeded doing, though it was mostly ignored until Galileo wrote about it in Italian.

Wikepedia has this about the man from Wittenberg:  "Copernicus was still working on De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (even if not certain that he wanted to publish it) when in 1539 Georg Joachim Rheticus, a Wittenberg mathematician, arrived in Frombork. Philipp Melanchthon, a close theological ally of Martin Luther, had arranged for Rheticus to visit several astronomers and study with them.  Rheticus became Copernicus' pupil, staying with him for two years and writing a book, Narratio prima (First Account), outlining the essence of Copernicus' theory. In 1542 Rheticus published a treatise on trigonometry by Copernicus (later included in the second book of De revolutionibus)."

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