I will be giving a short talk on the myths surrounding the Copernican revolution from 3:45pm-4:15pm (Pacific Time in the US) on Saturday, January 2, 2021. The talk is part of the annual one-day Skepticamp conference held in Monterey, though this year it will be virtual on Zoom and free and open to anyone. To see the full program and the link to join, go here.
There are a lot of false beliefs surrounding the response to Copernicus’s ideas about the universe being heliocentric rather than geocentric, one of the most prominent being that his ideas were strongly opposed by the church because they demoted the Earth and human beings from the privileged position of being at the center of the universe.
Have you ever read “The Book Nobody Read” by Owen Gingerich (2004)? Subtitle: “Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus”. I read it years ago and really enjoyed it — it’s a book about Copernicus’ book; and a rebuttal to “The Sleepwalkers” by Arthur Koestler (1959). I’m guessing it’s very relevant to conflicting notions about Copernicus and would appreciate your more expert opinion on that aspect of Copernicus — whether or not his book was widely read at the time.
Mano Singham says
I have not read Gingerich’s book and indeed was not aware of it. I did read Thomas Kuhn’s excellent The Copernican Revolution. I did write an article on this topic for Physics Today and it was given to Gingerich to review and he made some suggestions that I incorporated.