The Navigators

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” William G.T. Shedd I must confess that, whenever I quote William G.T. Shedd, I am usually standing safely on shore, far from the battering winds and unrelenting waves.  In fact, most times I haven’t even made it on the ship, let alone…

He Saw A New Light Break

“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” Johannes Kepler Johannes Kepler, the German mathematician, may not be as well-remembered as Nicolas Copernicus, but he was one of the key reasons why the Polish astronomer’s theories ultimately became widely recognized and accepted. Copernicus argued that…

Galileo Galilei – Nevertheless

“Passion is the genesis of genius.” Galileo Galilei Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy in 1564, twenty-one years after the passing of Nicolas Copernicus.  Yet, in years to come, Galileo would come to embrace his predecessor’s theory, and confirm its validity.  Considered the first great scientist of the modern age, Galileo insisted on observation and…

Copernicus & The Sun

“Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the earth remains at rest in the middle of the heavens as its center, would, I reflected, regard it as an insane pronouncement if I made the opposite assertion that the earth moves.” Nicolas Copernicus The Renaissance was in full bloom…

Almagest

“I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch the earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia”  Claudius Ptolemy Almagest! In Arabic, it…

He Saw a New Star and Invented Trigonometry

“We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.”  Carl Sagan, Cosmos The year 134 BCE was a momentous date in the life of Hipparchus.  In that year, he observed a rare phenomenon, a star in the constellation of Scorpio.  And it was not just any star; it was a new star,…