(Studies in the Scientific Revolution)

Assignment 2: Due 9/13/07


 Exam Review Material:

10/5: Ass2CopReview84.pdf [3.5 MB]

10/5: HarmonicReview120.pdf [1.3 MB]

Added 9/12/07: IÕve added a short description of Ptolemaic celestial mechanics that may help with the Copernicus readings.  I went over some of this in class, but very quickly.  This is only a few pages long and the drawings pretty much say it all.  Lindberg_PtolemyCirclesexcerpt.pdf [1 MB]


Read pp. 68-89 in Boas (one of our required texts) on Copernicus. 

Our very own Matthew Costanzo found the Boas book online at: I did not know of its online existence until recently, so if you prefer, this version is fine if you donÕt want to buy a hard copy.


Read the following excerpts from RheticusÕ (actually CopernicusÕ)  Narratio Prima, First (actually 2nd) Narration.  (1540)  This is a summary of CopernicusÕ theory.

-pp. 109-115

-pp. 136-147

-pp. 162-168


Here is a hi-res large PDF and a low-res small PDF.  Your choice.

Rheticus-Copernicus_NarratioPrima.pdf [5.4 MB]

Rheticus-Cop_NarratioPrimasm.pdf [2.1 MB]


Read the following excerpts from Book I of CopernicusÕ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, Libri VI, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, in Six Books.  (1543) [Also included in this PDF are a few chapters from Book VI.  These start on the second column of p. 20 in this PDF and are not required reading.  Look them over come up with an opinion as to why they are not required reading.]             Copernicus_DeRevLiber1.pdf [1.4 MB]


1) Foreword by Andreas Osiander found on pp. 3-4 of the PDF.

2) Section titled, ŌTo His Holiness, Pope Paul IIIÉĶ and the Table of Contents found on pp. 4-6 of PDF.

3) The Introduction on p. 7 of PDF.

4) The entire Table of Contents starting on p. 28 of the PDF.  This will give you an overview of the book.

5) Here is the complicated part.  You may now choose from the following readings.

5a) Chapters 1-8 [pp. 8-14 of PDF] on spheres and circles in astronomy and centrality and scale


5b) Chapters 9-11  [pp.14-20 of PDF] on terrestrial motions, centrality, and heavenly order


Homework: Write up an analysis [1.5 or more single-spaced pages] of either Reading 5a or 5b [indicated in Bold Red] in the reading from De revolutionibus.  Fully flesh out one of these readings.  Make diagrams and use more modern tools if you think it will help clarify your descriptions.  Basically summarize his arguments and comment on them.  If anything confuses you in your chosen section, figure it out.  Feel free to use an outside source.  Souped-up homework assignments should definitely use an outside source and potentially pursue additional ideas beyond just the 5a or 5b readings.  Cite all sources.


Here are citations to the readings for this week along with some additional sources that could be used for a souped-up homework.  Please feel free to use sources not listed in this bibliography.  This is by no means complete. 


Boas [Hall], Mary L. The Scientific Renaissance, 1450-1630. New York: Harper and Row, 1962. [One of our text books.]


Brotons, Victor Navarro. "The Reception of Copernicus in Sixteenth-Century Spain: The Case of Diego De Zuniga." Isis 86, no. 1 (1995): 52-78. Brotons_ReceptionCopernicus16thc.Spain-Zuniga.pdf [1.2 MB]


Cohen, I. Bernard. The Birth of a New Physics. Revised and updated ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 1985. [check library] 


Cole, Richard. "Ptolemy and Copernicus." The Philosophical Review 71, no. 4 (1962): 476-482. Cole_PtolemyandCopernicus.pdf [184 KB]


Copernicus, Nicholas. De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium; Books I and VI. Translated by and with Introduction and Notes by Edward Rosen.  New York: Dartmouth College, Sept. 1999 accessed 2004; Available from  [assigned above]


Copernicus, Nicholas, and Rheticus. "The Narratio Prima of Rheticus." In Three Copernican Treatises. Translated by and with Introduction and Notes by Edward Rosen. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1959. [assigned above]


________. De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium. Introduction by Professor Johannes MŸller. New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1965, Facsimile of 1st edition from 1543, originally owned by Kepler. [a few pages have been included in the reading in the assignment above]


Heath, Thomas Little, and Aristarchus. Aristarchus of Samos, the Ancient Copernicus; a History of Greek Astronomy to Aristarchus, Together with Aristarchus's Treatise on the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon. Oxford,: Clarendon press, 1913. [check library]


KoyrŽ, Alexandre. From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958. [check library]


________. The Astronomical Revolution : Copernicus, Kepler, Borelli. New York: Dover, 1992. [check library]


Kuhn, Thomas S. The Copernican Revolution. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985. [check library]


Lindberg, David C. The Beginnings of Western Science : The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. To A.D. 1450. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.


Mossakowski, Stanislaw. "The Symbolic Meaning of Copernicus' Seal." Journal of the History of Ideas 34, no. 3 (1973): 451-460. Mossakowski_CopernicusSeal.pdf [375 KB]


von Erhardt, Rudolf, and Erika von Erhardt-Siebold. "Archimedes' Sand-Reckoner: Aristarchus and Copernicus." Isis 33, no. 5 (1942): 578-602. Erhardt-Seibold_ArchimedesSandReckonerAristarchusCopernicus.pdf [3.3 MB]


Zilsel, Edgar. "Copernicus and Mechanics." Journal of the History of Ideas 1, no. 1 (1940): 113-118. Zilsel_CopernicusandMechanics.pdf [186 KB]



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