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Copernicus’ Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began

Before we began to explore the vastness of our universe with daring missions like launching a billionaire’s mid-sized sedan into space, or attempting to communicate with extraterrestrial beings through artistic images of a balding man blankly consuming a bagel, Europeans sat mostly oblivious to the vastness around them. Although there had been theories of heliocentrism circulating since the 4th century BCE (Philolaus, Aristarchus of Samos, Seleucus of Seleucia, etc), Copernicus was the first to justify heliocentrism using a model similar to Ptolemy’s Almagest.

 Copernicus’ discoveries clashed with church doctrine and triggered a series of events that would send Europe into a cosmological fervor. From that period, much of the science that we commonly take for granted was developed. If Galileo is the father of modern science, Copernicus is the grandfather. Happy 546th birthday, grandpa!

by Gabe Fresa, Library Intern, Summer 2018