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On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  392 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The Ptolemaic system of the universe, with the earth at the center, had held sway since antiquity as authoritative in philosophy, science, and church teaching. Following his observations of the heavenly bodies, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) abandoned the geocentric system for a heliocentric model, with the sun at the center. His remarkable work, On the Revolutions of Hea ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published November 1st 1995 by Prometheus Books (first published 1543)
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Feb 27, 2011 Matt added it
It wasn’t until some 70 years later, helped by Galileo‘s stubbornness, that the heliocentric universe posited by Copernicus’ book resulted in the Roman Catholic Church decree that heliocentrism was heresy. Copernicus expressed his fear of this reaction, or more likely the scorn of the mathematical community, in his Preface and Dedication to Pope Paul III. With great humility, he submitted the work as a life-long product of observation and study. Despite his fears of discarding a thousand years o ...more
show me deferent and i'll disprove your epicycle
Thanks for starting the Copernican revolution which greatly impacted the scientific revolution and thereby completely changed our world views. We wouldn't be where we are today without you.
Cathy Garcia
I am a fan of Copernicus' work, enough said.
Even if one has trouble following Copernicus in his proofs, there is something undoubtedly sublime about reading his book, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. To watch as a 1200 year old geocentric planetary system is dismantled is amazing in itself. But like I mentioned, the text is difficult to follow. The reader will be up for multiple problems if he or she hasn't read Euclid or Ptolemy. I skipped Ptolemy myself, but my exposure to Euclid helped. If one bypasses the Almagest then it i ...more
Brian Maicke

Back in high school, I had a Physics teacher who said that everyone should read the great classics once. His definition of classics were different than most English teachers. While he still includes the great works of literature, he also recommended religious texts (the Bible, the Koran, etc.) and the great works of science.

When I saw this series in my local library I was reminded of him and thought that it would be a great way to start reading some of those classics.

Copernicus' masterwork is de
William Schram
Copernicus writes of the heliocentric theory of the sun. A theory that eventually came to be accepted as fact even throughout all of the controversy. Published on his deathbed, Copernicus never got to see the results of the can of worms he opened.

In any case, there is no real prose, and most of the book is dense mathematical proofs and theorems developed from Euclid's Elements. It really hasn't aged well, but Copernicus and astronomers in general kept fantastic records of calendar dates. The rea
Jim Hahn
I like the idea that mechanisms now functioning in the world are only partially understood; like information search, to take a rather innocent example. Our understanding of the world is good enough to get us what we need for now--but the world could be much better if it refined and re-articulated and out and out discovered phenomena to be leveled at the problems of the day. I like the discipline of "social science of science" and more and more get a huge kick out of the "social science of techno ...more
Copernicus wrote this in the teeth of hostility from the Catholic Church which stuck to biblical description rather than truth- where have we heard that before. Copernicus had no computers or calculators and his only equipment was an astrolabe yet he managed to do all these calculations manually. A true genius
torun, polska 19 feb 1473 - 1543 frauenburg, deutschland

Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995
Charles Glenn Wallis, trans.

genius: gathered together the observations before him, and interpreted them in leaps of deduction (and mathematics); the method of genius simple; the leaps astronomical
Vikas Lather
"Paradigm shift from the Ptolemaic model of the heavens, which positioned the Earth at the center of the galaxy, compared to the heliocentric model which has the Sun at the center of the Solar System."
Bjørn Peterson
Definitely interesting, but not exactly gripping.
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  • Epitome of Copernican Astronomy and Harmonies of the World
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican
  • Elements of Chemistry
  • The Works of Archimedes
  • Opticks
  • The New Organon
  • The Geometry of René Descartes: with a Facsimile of the First Edition
  • Euclid's Elements
  • On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
  • A Chemical History of a Candle
  • Principles of Geology
  • Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
  • An Essay on the Principle of Population
  • Physics
  • Experiments in Plant Hybridisation
  • Hippocratic Writings
  • Science and Hypothesis
de Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium On the Revolutions: Nicholas Copernicus Complete Works On the Revolutions On the Revolutions: Manuscript Ptolemy's Almagest

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“Mathemata mathematicis scribuntur.” 5 likes
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