A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos
In mid-16th-century Poland, Nicolaus Copernicus, a reclusive canon of the Catholic Church, had labored for decades over an astronomical treatise that stood to revolutionize all Western thought. But – whether out of fear of ridicule or prosecution, or out of an obsessive desire to gather still more evidence – he refused to publish his work. Until, in 1539, a young mathematician from Germany braved the upheaval of the Reformation to journey to Poland, seek out the great astronomer, and convince him to reveal his findings to the world.
Acclaimed science writer Dava Sobel (author of Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter) brings to life this monumental meeting between Copernicus and his pupil Rheticus, along with the rich historical and scientific context of the period. While Sobel’s scholarship is impeccable and her prose a joy to read, what sets this history apart is the inclusion of Sobel’s play, And the Sun Stood Still. This affecting dramatization of Copernicus and Rheticus’s meeting, bookended by sections of more traditional historical narrative, offers a unique vision of the pioneering astronomer and his revolutionary theory of a heliocentric universe.