Belated birthday wishes to Copernicus

Tuesday February 19th was the 540th birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus. The Christian Science Monitor had a couple of good articles on his life and work.

The first one by Eoin O’Carroll discusses how his heliocentric model of the universe compared with the prevailing Ptolemaic geocentric one based on Aristotelian dynamics, and how it slowly became accepted as the standard, as refinements in theory (by Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton) and increasing precision of the observational data (by Tycho Brahe and Galileo Galilei) tilted the balance in his favor.

The second article by Steph Solis gives a brief biography of the astronomer and discusses the many myths that arose about the reaction of the church to his heliocentric model. This article quotes extensively from my essay The Copernican Myths that was published in the December 2007 issue of Physics Today. I only remembered Copernicus’s birthday when Solis contacted me for information.


  1. MNb says

    Great article in Physics Today. I knew already the main bulk of the story, but it’s nice to have some relevant details added. It confirms my hypothesis that the RCC only gradually and partlyt became anti-science from 1600. I have always wondered if it had to do with the Reformation and the subsequent religious wars in Europe.

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