What if we threw a revolution, and nobody came?


They mostly ignored him? No wonder he got so much done.


Yes, but at that time, no one expected the Roman Inquisition.


Also see Owen Gingerich’s ‘The Book Nobody Read’ http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Nobody-Read-Revolutions/dp/B000BNPG8C

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Immanuel Kant was a real piss-ant who was very rarely stable…
Come on everyone, you all know the words!


Copernicus really just “happened to get it right” rather than “explained how it works. Since the orbits of the planets aren’t circular, heliocentric models still needed various complicated 'kludges” to fit the observed motions of the planets until Kepler came up with the principle that the orbits were eliptical with the sun as one of the foci and that the planets swept over equal areas over equal times as they progressed around the sun. And it was Newton who showed that the same law of gravitational attraction could explain that motion and the motions of falling bodies near the Earth’s surface. And Einstein used relativity to explain the anomalous motion of Mercury. People ignore Copernicus because by itself, motion around the sun was only a minor improvement.


The naming of movements isn’t something we pay a lot of attention to. I still like to think of 1914 as, “The Great War”. (and November 11 should always be Rememberence Day!)

When Yoda says “The Clone Wars have begun”, he’s looking far ahead into the future to when historians have figured out what to call it. That always annoys me.


What if we threw a revolution, and nobody came?

Then you would know that you’d found the right address for the Tea Party rally?


The people thought Copernicus was not healthy.

I’m confused. Yoda never said that in any of the -3- Star Wars films. :wink:


But wasn’t Copernicus the first to clearly show that we lived in a heliocentric solar system?

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The fun bit is if he’d taken his theory a step further, he might have held back orbital mechanics by a couple more decades or more. Ptolemy and Copernicus both had around a 17 year glitch in their models. This was from treating earth’s orbit as circular (in Ptolemy’s case, the circularity was implied by all the other body’s having circular orbits around the earth, and the epicycles corrected for everything else’ elliptical orbits).

If Copernicus had been just a little more Copernican, he could have gotten rid of the glitch. He would have just needed to model earth’s orbit with an epicycle as well. That model is supposed to be nearly as good as Kepler’s ellipses, to the point where we might not have switched away for centuries. (I have not had time to work out the math myself.)


When people ask me how I like working for myself I say “Well I don’t have anyone sabotaging me.” And you would think a dark cynical statement like that might put people off, but usually they just sort of get a faraway look in their eyes and say wistfully “Wow…”


He was pretty old by the time he was prodded into writing things out, right? It wasn’t as if people at the time rushed to publish their crazy young ideas looking to coast the rest of their careers on their early work. Francis Bacon was the guy who really formulated the basis for the next era of science. Copernicus just found a circular system with a much better fit than the Ptolestotelian [1.] establishment. A necessary step, but still only the opening shot of the revolution.

Science required the fragmentation of scholarship under the Reformation to allow people to take more risky positions. If we want to name it, it could be any of a number of folks, from Copernicus through Kepler, Bacon, and Galileo. First to fire gets the naming rights, I guess. It’s as good a reason as any.

[1.] Think Filliam H. Muffman.

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I’ve pretty much de-lurked, and re-started my boingboing username (slightly shortened) from the previous version of the comment system, just to ‘like’ this.

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The other major issue is that with contemporary understanding of optics and the evidence available at the time, Copernicus’ theory required all the other stars to be much larger than the Sun.

At the time, stellar parallax had not been conclusively observed. The lack of an observable parallax put a lower bound on the distance from Earth to the stars. As the apparent size of a star’s disk in a telescope was thought to be its actual size, stars that appeared that big from that distance away had to be ridiculously huge.

Copernicus’ response to this criticism was to say that God could create the Universe however He liked and there was no reason why stars should be anything like the Sun.

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To be fair, precognition is a valid force power.


Self employed people often do all their own sabotage.


Me too man, only one sabotaging me is this guy

(what @Daemonworks said)


Or The Sleepwalkers from Arthur Koestler (http://www.amazon.com/The-Sleepwalkers-History-Changing-Universe/dp/0140192468)