25 February 2014

Birthday Boy

Last Wednesday was my birthday. I'm 60 years older than Henry, who also had a birthday Wednesday. As I have done once or twice in the past, I looked up my co-celebrants. Many on the list were unknown to me, though touted as being celebrities. I did recognize a few, though.

Prince Andrew of England was born on February 19, 1960.

On that date in 1916, famous jockey Eddie Arcaro was born. For author Amy Tan, 1952 was the year. The list goes on, but there is one name I want to give special attention. That would be Nicolaus Copernicus, born on what would become my birthday in 1473.

Copernicus, a Pole, was a mathematician and an astronomer. He was also trained to become a church official. His uncle, who raised him, was a Bishop. But, Nick ran afoul of the church for his views on the universe. He, you see, was the astronomer who declared the universe heliocentric. In other words, he proposed that the Sun was in a stationary position and a all the other heavenly bodies of our solar system (including earth) revolve around it. Many in the church hierarchy disputed this view. While he was not persecuted during his life, Nick's book De revolutionibus erbium coelestium ("On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres") was banned by the Roman Catholic church shortly after his death in 1543.

According to Biography.com, even Martin Luther was hostile to Copernicus's ideas.  
When De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was published in 1543, just before Copernicus's death, religious leader Martin Luther voiced his opposition to the heliocentric solar system model. His underling, Lutheran minister Andreas Osiander, quickly followed suit, saying of Copernicus, "This fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside down."(http://www.biography.com/people/nicolaus-copernicus-9256984?page=3)
Later exonerated, Copernicus has been called the Father of Modern Science.

Happy Birthday (OK, two days late), Birthday Boy.

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