Episode 1: Copernicus

In the spring of 1543, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus lay on his deathbed in Frombork, Poland. He was 71 years old. His followers brought straight from the press the first printed copy of his life’s work, On the Revolutions of Celestial Orbits. On that same day, May 24, Copernicus died.His book launched the scientific revolution. But it didn’t produce a paradigm shift until a century and half later, when Isaac Newton published his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy in 1687. As Thomas Kuhn notes in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Copernicus had a “flash of insight.” He didn’t have a theory in mind when he postulated his view of planetary motion. He had a new picture in mind. We are living in the pregnant pause between the flash of insight by New Copernicans and the thunder of adjusting to a 3D world.


April 18, 2015


New Copernicans Series