SR-08-Origins of Cop Rev-1

SR-08-Origins of Cop Rev-1 - Nicholas...

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The Origins of Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus’ Aristotle had said motion of projectiles was sustained by swirling air. Widely seen as inadequate; ancient critics proposed that motion was instead sustained by impetus imparted to moving body. Jean Buridan (French, c. 1295–1358) and Nicole Oresme (French, c. 1320–82) carried impetus theory further, but still within a broadly Aristotelian framework. Georg Peurbach (1423–61) and Johannes Müller (‘ Regiomontanus ’) (1436– 76) were among first European astronomers to master Ptolemy’s Almagest . Sought to eliminate ‘flaws’ in Arabic-derived text by translating it directly from Greek, but found that even ‘pristine’ Ptolemaic system lacked orderliness they expected in a universe designed by God. (In fact, Arabic astronomers had improved Ptolemy’s system in many ways.)
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Unformatted text preview: Nicholas Copernicus (1473–1543): Polish astronomer and Catholic church official. Studied at Cracow and in Italy; became an astronomical purist, insisting on strict adherence to principle of uniform circular motion in the heavens. Mastered Almagest but found it clumsy; objected to Ptolemy’s use of equant , lack of overall structure and coherence. Copernicus first proposed his radical new Sun-centered system in privately circulated ‘ Commentariolus ’ (c. 1510); argued it was simpler and more harmonious than Ptolemy’s geocentric system. Fearing public ridicule for proposing ‘absurd’ idea that Earth moves, and with no real explanation of how we could be moving so fast without feeling it, Copernicus hesitated to publish a full account of his ideas—but word spread among astronomers....
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