By Owen Gingerich
In the spring of 1543 because the celebrated astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, lay on his loss of life mattress, his fellow clerics introduced him a long-awaited package deal: the ultimate revealed pages of the booklet he had labored on for a few years: De revolutionibus (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). even though Copernicus wouldn't reside to listen to of its awesome impression, his booklet, which first advised that the solar, no longer the Earth, was once the guts of the universe, is at the present time well-known as probably the most influential clinical works of all time?thanks partially to astrophysicist Owen Gingerich.
Four and a part centuries after its preliminary booklet, Gingerich launched into an epic quest to determine in individual all extant copies of the 1st and moment variations of De revolutionibus. He used to be encouraged via contradictory items of data: Arthur Koestler's declare, in his bookThe Sleepwalkers, that no-one had learn Copernicus's e-book whilst it used to be released; and Gingerich's discovery, in Edinburgh, of a primary version richly annotated within the margins by means of the best instructor of astronomy in Europe within the 1540s. If one replica have been so speedy preferred, Gingerich reasoned, might be others have been as well?and maybe they can throw new gentle on a hinge aspect within the background of astronomy.
After 3 a long time of research, and after touring millions of miles around the globe?from Melbourne to Moscow, Boston to Beijing?Gingerich has written an totally unique ebook outfitted on his event and the notable insights gleaned from reading a few six hundred copies of De revolutionibus. He came upon the books owned and annotated by way of Galileo, Kepler and lots of different lesser-known astronomers whom he brings again to lifestyles, which remove darkness from the lengthy, reluctant strategy of accepting the Sun-centered cosmos and spotlight the historical tensions among technological know-how and the Catholic Church. He traced the possession of person copies in the course of the palms of saints, heretics, scalawags, and bibliomaniacs. He was once referred to as because the specialist witness within the robbery of 1 reproduction, witnessed the dramatic public sale of one other, and proves conclusively that De revolutionibus used to be as inspirational because it was once revolutionary.
Part biography of a ebook, half medical exploration, half bibliographic detective tale, The ebook no one Read recolors the heritage of cosmology and gives new appreciation of the iconic strength of a rare ebook and its ideas.