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Download Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (Great Discoveries) ePub

by William T. Vollmann

Download Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (Great Discoveries) ePub
  • ISBN 0393329186
  • ISBN13 978-0393329186
  • Language English
  • Author William T. Vollmann
  • Publisher W. W. Norton & Company (February 17, 2007)
  • Pages 304
  • Formats mbr txt rtf azw
  • Category Biography
  • Subcategory Professionals and Academics
  • Size ePub 1836 kb
  • Size Fb2 1670 kb
  • Rating: 4.9
  • Votes: 687

“Highly personal and philosophical . . . the next best thing to reading Copernicus.”―Publishers Weekly

In 1543, the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus lay on his deathbed, reportedly holding his just-published masterpiece, The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, in his hands. Placing the sun at the center of the universe, Copernicus launched modern science, leading to a completely new understanding of the universe, and humanity's place within it. But what did Copernicus really believe? Some argue that he anticipated the vast secularizing impact his ideas would have on history. Others contend that Copernicus was a man of his time and, on the whole, accepted its worldview. William T. Vollmann navigates this territory with the energetic prose and powerful intelligence for which he is known, providing a fresh and enlightening explication of Copernicus, his book, and his time, and the momentous clash between them.

William T. Vollmann is the author of The Atlas (winner of the 1997 PEN Center West Award) . Those who wish to date the genesis of the European Scientific Revolution are at liberty to point to several likely moments in history

William T. Vollmann is the author of The Atlas (winner of the 1997 PEN Center West Award), Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes, and Europe Central. His nonfiction includes Rising Up and Rising Down which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003. Series: Great Discoveries. Those who wish to date the genesis of the European Scientific Revolution are at liberty to point to several likely moments in history. The revolution was a confluence of many streams of thought and endeavor, some of which had prehistoric origins, all of which developed gradually over the course of centuries.

Uncentering the Earth book. Part of the 'Great Discoveries' series. Vollmann has got Copernicus and seminal work The Revolutions of the Heavenly Speres. One of the works which began to place the sun at the centre of the universe, rather than the earth. Copernicus ranks up there with Einstein, Newton, Darwin, Mendel, and Galileo in the Hall of Fame of scientists who overturned the way we think about God, the world, and humanity's place in it.

Uncentering the Earth is divided into chapters packed with titled .

Uncentering the Earth is divided into chapters packed with titled subchapters, a hallmark of Vollmann’s style. The subchapters facilitate a readerly inertia, propelling you from one to another to another. This is Vollmann at the top of his game, and where the book’s real action is. An emphatic empathizer, he dares us to consider the would-be villains of the tale on their own terms. From my own perspective, he writes, these proceedings seem monstrously unfair. Wouldn’t perfection be more in evidence on Earth if a greater number of us devoted our lives to it? Vollmann has written some of the roughest and darkest prose that we have, most of it derived from first-hand experience.

This is an interesting book, and Vollman gets high marks for actually reading Copernicus (I tried once and gave up quickly). As part of a series of books on scientists by non-scientists, it is written at an appropriate level for someone like me. Vollman isn't interested so much in the science as he is in the place of Copernicanism in history. He notes often that astronomy has advanced so far that Copernicus seems quaint in his insistence on circular motion even with his heliocentric universe.

Bibliographic Details. Title: Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The. William T. Vollmann is the author of several works of fiction, including The Atlas and The Rainbow Stories, and has contributed stories and journalism to many publications. He lives in California

Bibliographic Details. Publisher: W. W. Norton. Book Condition: Very Good. Synopsis: The man and the idea that created modern science, as seen by one of today's most celebrated writers. He lives in California. We have been repeatedly voted Best Used Book Store by Seattle's weekly newspaper's public polls.

Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (2006) (Part of the "Great Discoveries" series).

Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (2006) (Part of the "Great Discoveries" series). Riding Toward Everywhere (2008).

the Earth : Copernicus and the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres .

Uncentering the Earth : Copernicus and the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. Part of the Great Discoveries Series). by William T. Vollmann.

Автор: Vollmann William T. Название: Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and the .

Manufacturer: W. Norton Release date: 6 February 2006 ISBN-10 : 0393059693 ISBN-13: 9780393059694. Separate tags with commas, spaces are allowed. Use tags to describe a product . for a movie Themes heist, drugs, kidnapping, coming of age Genre drama, parody, sci-fi, comedy Locations paris, submarine, new york.

In 1543, the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus lay on his deathbed, his just-published masterpiece On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres in his hands

In 1543, the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus lay on his deathbed, his just-published masterpiece On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres in his hands.

Talk about Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (Great Discoveries)


Coiron
Enlightened.
INvait
Those who wish to date the genesis of the European Scientific Revolution are at liberty to point to several likely moments in history. The revolution was a confluence of many streams of thought and endeavor, some of which had prehistoric origins, all of which developed gradually over the course of centuries. Consensus among historians of science often settles around 1543 AD, the year that Nicholas Copernicus published "The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres".
Copernicus was born in 1473 at Thorn on the Vistula River, the son of a copper trader. He studied in universities at Cracow and Bologna, taking his doctorate at Ferrara. He spent the last 34 years of his life in the quiet Prussian province of Varmia. A man of diverse interests and abilities, he was a mathematician, a country doctor who fashioned his own medications, a canon of the Catholic Church, and an astronomer. He recorded only 27 observations of the sky; he never once glimpsed the planet Mercury. His book was published by Andreas Osiander, a German Protestant, and presented to Copernicus of his deathbed.
Having completed his work 67 years before Galileo's telescope magnified the heavens, Copernicus had only his own observations, those of past astronomers, and his insight to work with. His book asserted that, contrary to appearances, the cherished ideas of Aristotle, Ptolemy's comprehensive "Almagest", and the entrenched authority of the Church, the earth was not the center of the universe around which everything in the firmament revolved. He stated, and proved to his own satisfaction with intricate demonstrations of plane geometry, that the sun stood at the center and that the earth revolved around it.
"The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres" was an unlikely treatise to launch a revolution. Although Galileo was later to prove him right about the relationship between the earth and the sun, Copernicus had been wrong about two central premises he had assumed from Aristotle and Ptolemy: that everything in the sky must be composed of a material different from the four elements known on earth, a perfect fifth element, a "quintessence", and that the planets, being perfect, must necessarily move in perfect orbits, circles. These concepts confounded his attempt to reconcile celestial appearances with his geometry. Furthermore, his proofs were abstruse, comprehensible only to those well acquainted with both Euclid and the astronomical tables used for navigation and calendar calculations - in his day, a very select few, mostly clergymen committed to defending the Church.
Today, after so many centuries of observation with increasingly sophisticated technology and the exploration of space itself, the reach of astronomy has so far exceeded the grasp of Copernicus that his revolutionary work is rarely read by anyone other than scholars. As Arthur Koestler wrote, "It is one of the dreariest and most unreadable books that made history." The casual reader would find "The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres" exceptionally daunting. Fortunately, William T. Vollman has undertaken this task for us and written a splendid book about it.
"Uncentering the Earth" (2006) recapitulates "Revolutions" chapter by chapter, decrypting the language and logic of Copernicus, identifying his antecedents, placing his ideas in the context of their time, describing the man himself and the world he inhabited, and reminding us how courageous it was to challenge the doctrines of the Catholic Church at a time when it was reacting to Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation by means of the Inquisition.
No doubt anticipating that Copernicus was begging trouble, Osiander had added a preface to "Revolutions" that invited readers not to take it literally, but to regard the work as hypothetical musings cast into the sky to make celestial mechanics conform to terrestrial mathematics. When Copernicus read it, he was furious because he very much intended that his book be taken as a literal explanation of natural phenomena. His apoplectic rage may have been a contributing cause to his death.
Vollman writes about an arcane subject in an entertaining, conversational manner, with humor and self-deprecating admissions of his own inadequacies. He admires his subject, but withholds worship. He quotes Copernicus, "If I could bring my computations to agree with the truth to within ten degrees, I would be as elated as Pythagoras must have been when he discovered his famous principle." Vollman notes, "That was Copernicus for you. As the saying goes, he didn't ask for the moon."
With regard to the rudimentary tools at hand for Copernicus and his contemporaries, Vollman says, "...the narrow limits of observation were merciful and forgiving to their theories."
The instruments Copernicus had for measurement - astrolabe, torquetum, and parallacticon - were the same as those used by Ptolemy when he produced his "Almagest" in 151 AD, which in their turn had not much improved since the days of Hipparchus of Rhodes or Aristarchus of Samos in the 2nd and 4th centuries BC. Ptolemy had written, appreciating the labors of his predecessors, that they were "The work for another's love of wisdom and truth."
About all such labors - the work of scientists - and cognition itself, Vollman remarks, "The purpose of conceptualization is to transform reality's perceptual randomness into patterns."
"What is reality?" he poses. "The history of science, not to mention life itself, teaches us to suspect that more will always exist than we have yet apprehended." Later he adds, "Reality is what we perceive now. What a pathetic, parochial definition! But it is the truth." And, "Truth, at least of the scientific kind, is arrived at (approximated, I should say) only in increments of ghastly drudgery."
"Uncentering the Earth" provides 20 helpful diagrams to illustrate the various concepts of celestial mechanics and projections of the celestial sphere imagined by Ptolemy, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Johannes Kepler, as well as our present day perspective.
William Vollman has compressed the "ghastly drudgery" of 25 centuries of astronomy into an illuminating book that is, indeed, an excellent "work for another's love of wisdom and truth."
I'm a Russian Occupant
Probably how he looks at all us technology guys too!

Technology guys need to get past our thin skins and ignore the well-written, deep-disguised digs, ostensibly (and literally) aimed at all sorts of scientists back in the days of Copernicus, to include belittling the Man himself from time to time. Vollmann is an excellent writer, and brings to the world of 16th century astronomy more than just a colorfully descriptive style, but also a profound compliment for what science does through the ages. He's a fiction writer "normally," and uses color effectively -- otherwise, he couldn't sell much fiction! Think about how matter-of-fact so much of what is published in science fields today, and wonder how much more interesting they might be if a fiction writer took a turn at nonfiction as Vollmann did!

True, there are much better texts on any of the science topics treated in "Uncentering the Earth." True also, the author probably did deep research on those specific pieces of science about which he wrote, sometimes in considerable detail; and these spots of good reporting sometimes seem poorly connected with each other. Still, the reader might be delighted that a fiction writer could actually pull this off. Nevertheless, if the readers seek a detailed account of Copernicus and his work, or of the advances of science in the 16th century, or of which persons passed along what bits of knowledge at that time, then this book will probably not do. Understandably so. If instead one would like a fresh (and sometimes slightly insulting) way to look at this particular famous person of Copernicus for perspective, then "Uncentering" might be just the distraction.

It can be frustrating in this work, though, to pin down specifically why the author admires Nicolaus Copernicus. Although he speaks those words a couple times through the book, the reasons are fuzzy and somewhat unconnected with the text around it (see if you can find them!) This reviewer personally concludes that Mr. Vollmann believes that Copernicus changed astronomy (and hence science?) into a predictive way of thinking, rather than a reactive way. That's would be an excellent compliment indeed.
Jarortr
I bought this book with high hopes of finding an interesting and illuminating look at how Copernicus revolutionized astronomy. I was so disappointed that I did something I virtually never do: after about 90 pages, I put the book away with no intention of finishing it. Vollmann is a writer of note, but in this case his writing is so mannered and his exposition seemingly so convoluted that the reader quickly grows fatigued. At least, this reader did.