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Copernicus' Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began
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Copernicus' Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  150 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Nicolaus Copernicus gave the world perhaps the most important scientific insight of the modern age, the theory that the earth and the other planets revolve around the sun. He was also the first to proclaim that the earth rotates on its axis once every twenty-four hours. His theory was truly radical: during his lifetime nearly everyone believed that a perfectly still earth ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published December 4th 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2007)
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Apr 18, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, scientists
This brief book on Copernicus sketches who he was, what he did and how he did it. It is happily non-technical such that all levels of laymen can understand what he achieved.

Living the respectable life of a nobleman and clergyman, he was not persecuted for his work although the later generation that persecuted Galileo thought he was. He worried about the impact of his work, and perhaps this is why his ideas lay dormant until his old age. The eventual publication of his work relied heavily on a yo
Jul 26, 2008 Randy rated it liked it
I was hoping for an easy-to-read biography of Copernicus. This book is certainly easy-to-read, and I found much of the book interesting, partly because of the description of what was going on in the scientific community during the 15th century.

What I wanted to read more of, however, was how Copernicus worked on and developed his theories that eventually changed the course of scientific, and human, history. It may just be that, because Copernicus worked alone, there is very little information on
Eric Timar
Dec 15, 2012 Eric Timar rated it really liked it
A good and not-too-long biography. I would not have minded had it gone into the details/mechanics of his actual astronomic research and discoveries more than it does, but it's a good portrait of the time. Also Repcheck could have spent more time showing how the theory went from ignored by the Church to condemned by the Church (posthumous to Copernicus, it turns out, which is basically why Repcheck does not cover it in depth).
Aug 03, 2015 B rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Not just a book about the life and research of Copernicus but also the times he lived in which included the birth of reformation and Martin Luther, early Renaissance, and the politics of the Poland-Germany region along with the Teutonic Knights. I found this to be an interesting read..
Lee Humphrey
Mar 10, 2017 Lee Humphrey rated it it was amazing
Copernicus managed to work on his heliocentric theory between his duties as a canon/priest and a medical doctor, and fending off the criticisms from his superiors for his mistress and his theology. It's interesting to see Copernicus' involvement, even though on the edges, of the developing Reformation. His friend and colleague, Rheticus, said of him ... his (Copernicus) manuscript (400 hand written pages!) was a manifestation of a brilliant mind that was patient, diligent and respectful of the g ...more
I enjoy reading the stories behind path-breaking historical discoveries and the men who made them. This book focuses on the story of Nicolas Copernicus, who was the first one to break away from over two centuries of established geocentric view of the universe in the 15th century and propose that the earth was NOT the center of the universe as held by Aristotle/Ptolemaic models and as endorsed by the Church. He proposed and proved through rigorous observations and mathematical proof that earth an ...more
Apr 09, 2010 Cindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, science, 2010
I picked this one up at the planetarium gift shop mostly because of the title, I think. I knew about Copernicus, and that he was the discoverer of the sun-centered solar system. But when I got into the book, I realized that there was so much I didn't know about him.

Copernicus was born in modern-day Poland. After his father's death, his uncle, a bishop, took care of him and his brother and paid for their university education. It was there that Copernicus began to study astronomy for the first tim
Kathryn Bashaar
Feb 22, 2012 Kathryn Bashaar rated it really liked it
This was the story of how Copernicus was the first to posit a heliocentric view of the universe,and why it took decades for him to publish his work. The book was mostly written in a lively, novelistic style that held a lay reader's interest, but occasionally it lapsed into too much (boring, to me) detail about church and civil politics at the time. To his credit, Copernicus was first reluctant to publish his work because he felt he hadn't gotten everything exactly right. Also, he was afraid of b ...more
Darren Nelson
Interesting exposition of the world and cultural milieu of Copernicus and the Poland of his day. An intriguing biographical mystery is why Copernicus never bothered to take orders as a priest rather than just a church canon, despite pressure to do so? One really revealing new fact for moderns: the "astronomers" of the day were also astrologers, and in fact this was considered the more practical part of their knowledge and ironically a motivation for their support from patrons and church authorit ...more
David Hall
Sep 03, 2015 David Hall rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
A vibrant little biography, but annoyingly meandering. I appreciated Repcheck's commitment to providing a detailed portrait of Copernicus's life, but no tangent is unworthy of lengthy pursuit in this book. So much so, that Repcheck does not provide a detailed portrait as much a sprawling one, which is probably my main complaint. I wanted more in depth analysis of Copernicus, not an endless series of small biographies covering every person he had more than a passing conversation with.
Sep 23, 2008 Summer rated it liked it
This is, of course, a fascinating subject, but the narrative doesn't have enough linear flow. The author jumps around in time, weaving in side stories of Copernicus' predecessors and contemporaries, but not cohesively. I spent too much time asking questions like "Wait, who's the bishop of Warmia?" Not enough attention is paid to the actual science, and the enormity and marvel of Copernicus' ideas are not well supported by the mood of the book.
Mar 15, 2008 Leslie rated it really liked it
I lived in Poland very near Frombork, where Copernicus was a Canon in the church, and did the bulk of his work and study of astronomy. So, my interest in the subject is not so much on the astronomy side, but the history and location.

The book was an easy read, with the technicalities of the science and math taking a backseat to the politics of astronomy/astrology (they were combined at the time), the history of book printing/publishing, and general life of scholars and scientists.
Apr 27, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Easy to read if you want a straight forward bio of Copernicus. Some of his assumptions and conclusions are a little overdrawn and simplistic since Copernicus was living in such a complicated time but all in all, I really enjoyed it.
Apr 23, 2015 Anthony rated it it was amazing
Very Good introduction to Copernicus
Aug 22, 2009 Elissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
More about the man than the theory, but educational and interesting. Especially the summary of important astronomers and their contributions at the end. I keep forgetting...
Aug 02, 2009 Val rated it really liked it
Quiet, unboastful men have a hard time influencing others and the world no matter how great, important, and revolutionizing their ideas may be. They need a promoter,fortunetly one found him.
May 09, 2014 Syd rated it liked it
Very easy to read and gives a good general history of Copernicus and the scientific world his theory was written and published in.
Dec 23, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
People who have paradigm shifts in thinking are always fascinating. A vivid portrayal of the life and passion of this cheeky genius.
May 26, 2014 John rated it really liked it
I'm not telling! OK, here's a hint: It has something to to with planets.
Anna Lynn
May 11, 2010 Anna Lynn rated it it was amazing
<3 uncle jack!
Jul 06, 2014 Ema rated it really liked it
It's an interesting take on the personal life of Copernicus who first put out the idea that the Earth is not the center of the universe.
Eric Michael
Aug 16, 2009 Eric Michael rated it liked it
The unknown Copernicus. From his forbidden science to his mistress while he was an esteemed Catholic cleric. This book is a fascinating study of a complex individual.
May 03, 2008 Linda rated it liked it
An insight into the other players involved in the research and publication of "the sun is the center of the universe" theory. Overall a dry read, but some interesting passages.
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 17, 2011 Daniel Kukwa rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Solid work...but it seems TOO short and TOO threadbare at times...almost as if it were "trying" to present the Copernican revolution as a great anti-climax.
May 05, 2008 Zed added it
Shelves: nonfiction
An engaging, relatively lite read. I like the book best for its recommendations of other books on the (history) of astronomy.
Bijit Kumar
Bijit Kumar rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2015
Bradley Pollard
Bradley Pollard rated it really liked it
Oct 23, 2013
Middlethought rated it it was amazing
Jun 22, 2017
Ed Terrell
Ed Terrell rated it really liked it
Nov 30, 2013
Kim rated it it was amazing
Jul 10, 2012
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