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Search For the Tomb of Copernicus Reaches an End

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the always-the-last-place-you-look dept.

Earth 243

duh P3rf3ss3r writes "The Associated Press reports that after 200 years of speculation and investigation, the tomb of Nicolaus Copernicus has been found. Although the heliocentric concept had been suggested earlier, Copernicus is widely thought of as the father of the scientific theory of the heliocentric solar system. The positive identification was made by comparing the DNA from a skeleton's teeth with that from hairs in a book known to have belonged to Copernicus. A computer-generated facial reconstruction is said to also bear a resemblance to contemporary portraits of the scientist."

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Copernicus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837449)

He realized that the world did not revolve around him.

Two Centuries? Try 4 years (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837901)

The headlines and the facts seem to be at odds- the search took 4 years, not 200, and the tomb was unmarked, thus it has been lost for 500 years or so, if being known to be in a given church yet unmarked would count a tomb as "lost".

Re:Two Centuries? Try 4 years (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838593)

The positive identification was made by comparing the DNA from a skeleton's teeth with that from hairs in a book known to have belonged to Copernicus

All this proves is that he bit Copernicus. Get back to work.
-The Management

    (just_kidding)

From TFA: (0, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837467)

The findings could put an end to centuries of speculation about the exact resting spot of Copernicus, a priest and astronomer whose theories identified the Sun, not the Earth, as the center of the universe.

The sun is the center of the universe? I though the sun orbited the Milkey Way Galaxy's central black hole?

A question for you math geeks: can an object of infinite size even HAVE a center?

I would posit that I am the center of the universe. No matter where I am, I'm here. As I walk, the world moves beneath my feet.

You could construct an accurately moving model of the solar system, have the earth as the center, and still have it be accurate. The moon doesn't orbit the earth, both bodies orbit a spot somewhere beneath the earth's crust.

It's all a matter of how you look at it.

Copernicus is believed to have come up with his main idea of the Sun at the center of the universe between 1508 and 1514, and during those years wrote a manuscript commonly known as Commentariolus (Little Commentary).

His final thesis was only published, however, in the year of his death. His ideas challenged the Bible, the church and past theories, and they had important consequences for future thinkers, including Galileo, Descartes and Newton.

I'm going to have to reread Genesis. [virginia.edu] I don't recall seeing anywhere where it says the earth is the center of anything, let alone the universe.

1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4: And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5: And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6: And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7: And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8: And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9: And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10: And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11: And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13: And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17: And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18: And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19: And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

The part where the earth was created before the stars is a bit hard to believe. Maybe it means that the subatomic particles that it's made of?.

Re:From TFA: (5, Interesting)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837535)

Yes, Copernicus claimed that the sun, and not the earth, was the center of the universe.

Obviously, in the past 475 years we have figured out that the sun is only the center of the solar system and not the universe.

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838047)

so where was he?

Re:From TFA: (2, Funny)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838061)

Hmm... I expect his body was hidden in the last place they looked. It always seems to work out that way for me.

Re:From TFA: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838237)

of course it was you dolt!

I think this applies here... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838545)

WHOOOOOOOSH!

Re:From TFA: (2, Funny)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838449)

Every time I hide a body, it always turns up in the last place they look. That is, if it turns up.

Perhaps I've said too much.

Re:From TFA: (0)

qualidafial (967876) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838511)

Hmm... I expect his body was hidden in the last place they looked. It always seems to work out that way for me.

It is customary to stop searching for something after you've found it.

Re:From TFA: (2, Funny)

JLF65 (888379) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838817)

Not me! If you find one, there's bound to be more!! :)

On a more serious note, the phrase "always the last place you look" means that no matter where you start or the order you search in, the item is always in the final place on the list of places to look. It's a corollary of Murphy's Law.

Re:From TFA: (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837569)

The part where the earth was created before the stars is a bit hard to believe. Maybe it means that the subatomic particles that it's made of?

Or maybe it's a story made up by early tribes in the mid-east not unlike other creation myths by African tribes, Native Americans, and pretty much everywhere else there have ever been humans.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837603)

The longest journey beings with a single step, and Copernicus took a big step on the road to a modern understanding of the universe. He wasn't right about the sun being the center of the universe, but he was correct about it being the center of the solar system. Newton theories of motion aren't correct, but we still consider him to have made a contribution, no?

Re:From TFA: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837607)

Maybe you can try and read what is there instead of what you want to read.

1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

So here we have the original creation. Who knows how long ago. It does not say.

2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The part "was without form, void" is a bad translation and should say "became without form, and void;". So apparently something happened, and who knows how much time went by, between the first creation and the second "re-creation" of the surface of the earth.

In any case when you read what is actually says there is nothing there that disagrees with what modern science has observed.

Always Jumping to Conclusions (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837615)

The sun is the center of the universe? I though the sun orbited the Milky Way Galaxy's central black hole?

You're right. Copernicus didn't know this at the time (or at least if he did, he didn't tell anyone). He came up with a model that was simply better than the norm. Whether he and he alone did this or not is probably up for debate but he sure stuck his neck out there for it.

I would posit that I am the center of the universe. No matter where I am, I'm here. As I walk, the world moves beneath my feet.

And I would simply posit that you are a unique frame of reference. But that would just begin a pedantic physics discussion (more to come!).

A question for you math geeks: can an object of infinite size even HAVE a center?

I don't think the universe is an object of infinite size. It's constantly expanding, though ... and if you want to get technical, we can look at the red light shift of things moving away all around us and their velocity. Doing this, we can trace their vectors backwards to an intersection point--the point of the event theorized to be the Big Bang. The true center of the universe.

I'm going to have to reread Genesis. I don't recall seeing anywhere where it says the earth is the center of anything, let alone the universe.

Of that whole list you wrote, it sure does concentrate predominately on the earth. If you think about it, there's a whole lot more to talk about than merely the earth ... so in a way, it does give all the attention to the earth. The fact that it was created before the stars just makes it all that much more central. Also, where else would God put beings made in his likeness? If you're going to defend The Bible's creation story, I don't recommend Slashdot.

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (5, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837803)

we can look at the red light shift of things moving away all around us and their velocity. Doing this, we can trace their vectors backwards to an intersection point--the point of the event theorized to be the Big Bang. The true center of the universe.

No you can't actually, because all the the vectors show everything moving away from us at the same velocity. The way it was explained to me way back when: Imagine a loaf of bread with raisins spaced equally throughout. As the bread rises, the raisins get farther apart from one another. From the point of view of any raisin, all the other raisins are moving away from it at the same speed. The same thing happens in the big bang, the universe vastely increased in size.

It's important to remember that the Big Bang "wasn't an explosion in space, it was an explosion of space". You can't trace the origin back to a specific point because when the big bang happened that single point was the entire universe.

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (3, Interesting)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838257)

Of course, a loaf of bread does have a center.

An expanding space embedded in a higher-dimensional space, however, does not. I prefer the following analogy:

Imagine the stars are dots drawn on a surface of a balloon. The universe is the two-dimensional surface. As the three-dimensional balloon expands, all of the points in the "universe" appear to receding from one another. Yet there is no way to agree upon a "center".

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (1)

KenAndCorey (581410) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838547)

All the the vectors show everything moving away from us at the same velocity... all the other raisins are moving away from it at the same speed.

No, they are not all moving away at the same velocity, or even the same speed. They are just all moving away from each other.

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (1)

dollargonzo (519030) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838573)

I slightly better analogy (same idea, though)--

Imagine an infinite checker board. At the time of the big bang, the size of each square is 0. The size of each square grows with time. So, it can be said to be expanding, infinite and without a center.

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837823)

And I would simply posit that you are a unique frame of reference

I posit that everywhere is the center of the universe, especially the sentient parts of it.

If you're going to defend The Bible's creation story, I don't recommend Slashdot.

Discussion isn't defense. I only said that it doesn't state that the earth is the center of the universe. I doubt the ancient Jews/Muslims (both were the same then, descended from Abraham) even knew there WAS a universe. I'd posit that nobody BC had the slightest idea that those things in the night sky were big enough to walk on.

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838055)

And I would simply posit that you are a unique frame of reference

I posit that everywhere is the center of the universe, especially the sentient parts of it.

If you're going to defend The Bible's creation story, I don't recommend Slashdot.

Discussion isn't defense. I only said that it doesn't state that the earth is the center of the universe. I doubt the ancient Jews/Muslims (both were the same then, descended from Abraham) even knew there WAS a universe. I'd posit that nobody BC had the slightest idea that those things in the night sky were big enough to walk on.

Go get your Bible, eat some squirrels [slashdot.org] and leave the intarweb alone.

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (3, Insightful)

genner (694963) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838007)

Of that whole list you wrote, it sure does concentrate predominately on the earth. If you think about it, there's a whole lot more to talk about than merely the earth ... so in a way, it does give all the attention to the earth. The fact that it was created before the stars just makes it all that much more central. Also, where else would God put beings made in his likeness? If you're going to defend The Bible's creation story, I don't recommend Slashdot.

Meh...a lot of conjecture that proves nothing. Of course it mentions the earth a lot it was written for humanity's benefit. If aliens are out there God may very have given them a book that talks mostly about Riegel 7.

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838297)

Meh...a lot of conjecture that proves nothing. Of course it mentions the earth a lot it was written for humanity's benefit. If aliens are out there God may very have given them a book that talks mostly about Riegel 7.

Meh ... a lot of conjecture that proves nothing. Were they also created in his likeness? What determined where he created you? Why did he tell us we are in his likeness? Why would you choose to leave either side out of either side's primer? I suppose that falls in line with a lot of the rest of The Bible--no logical sense whatsoever.

I hope I'm not living in some alien's Sodom & Gomorrah.

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (2, Insightful)

genner (694963) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838461)

Meh...a lot of conjecture that proves nothing. Of course it mentions the earth a lot it was written for humanity's benefit. If aliens are out there God may very have given them a book that talks mostly about Riegel 7.

Meh ... a lot of conjecture that proves nothing. Were they also created in his likeness? What determined where he created you? Why did he tell us we are in his likeness? Why would you choose to leave either side out of either side's primer? I suppose that falls in line with a lot of the rest of The Bible--no logical sense whatsoever. I hope I'm not living in some alien's Sodom & Gomorrah.

Hey I'm just saying the Bible doesn't say we're the center of the universe. I never claimed to have all the answers. More importantly why would aliens have their orgies in your home town?

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (3, Funny)

Monkier (607445) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838183)

we can trace their vectors backwards to an intersection point--the point of the event theorized to be the Big Bang. The true center of the universe.

I just pictured someone 100s of generations from now taking their offspring to a really boring tacky gift shop at "The true center of the universe".

Re:Always Jumping to Conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838455)

If you're going to defend The Bible's creation story, I don't recommend Slashdot.

I can think of few places where it would be MORE appropriate than on Slashdot....

Re:From TFA: (2, Insightful)

zindorsky (710179) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837621)

The sun is the center of the universe? I though the sun orbited the Milkey Way Galaxy's central black hole?

So Copernicus was not 100% correct. But his theory was still more right than the one it replaced (Ptolemaic geocentrism). Newton wasn't 100% correct either, and I'm sure that Einstein's theories will also be shown to be only approximations. But so what? All these theories have advanced science, even if they are not the final word.

A question for you math geeks: can an object of infinite size even HAVE a center?

Well, you can certainly come up with an infinite space that has a "natural" center. For example, an infinite 3-space curved in higher dimensions might have only one point where the curvature is zero. That would be a natural center.

Not that our universe necessarily has that structure.

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837631)

what is your point

Re:From TFA: (1)

rocketman768 (838734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837653)

No object in the universe is at the center because space itself is expanding, and if you stand at any point, it appears that everything is moving away from you. So, no matter where you are, it looks like you're at the center of the universe.

Ecclesiastes 1:5
The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.

Joshua 10:12-13
Then spoke Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Aijalon." And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

So, it's not very good evidence that the Earth was the center of everything, but it was good enough to get the Church to believe it. When Copernicus challenged this belief, he was challenging a VERY VERY old imbedded belief.

What _I_ want to know is how the heck did the computer model figure out what his clothes looked like?!

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25837861)

What _I_ want to know is how the heck did the computer model figure out what his clothes looked like?!

Time travel and quantum computing...

Re:From TFA: (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837991)

The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises

Don't meterologists talk of sunrise and sunset? Don't modern day astronomers say things like "wow, what a beautiful sunrise?"

it was good enough to get the Church to believe it

The various churches have believed a whole lot of stuff that isn't supported by the bible. Look at the Baptists' hatred of drunkenness and dancing. There's an old joke that goes "Why won't Baptists have sex standing up? They don't want anyone to think they're dancing!"

Why any Christian would think that capital punishment or war can be a good thing is beyond my comprehension.

What _I_ want to know is how the heck did the computer model figure out what his clothes looked like?!

They have paintings of him, that's where the clothes come from. What I want to know is in the posters of the evolution of man you see in all the museums, why do the cave men have long hair and beards while the modern man has no facial hair (lacking a secondary sexual characteristic) and have short hair? Bald I can see, but short? I've never met a human with naturally short, doglike hair like you see on those posters. I mean, my hair's short but I was at the barbershop the other day.

Re:From TFA: (2, Informative)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838501)

So, it's not very good evidence that the Earth was the center of everything, but it was good enough to get the Church to believe it. When Copernicus challenged this belief, he was challenging a VERY VERY old imbedded belief.

Have you ever talking about sunset or sunrise, or the ? I don't imagine that when you do, you're making a scientific statement. Similarly, poetic and narrative descriptions of the location or procession of the sun should not be taken as scientific descriptions. People back then had no great reason to think that heliocentrism was better than geocentrism, but the Bible doesn't come out and endorse any position, or even raise it as a subject.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837659)

The geocentric model is usually attributed to Ptolemy. I have no idea what people believed before then.

Re:From TFA: (3, Interesting)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837749)

First they believed that the universe was a like a truck. Then they though it was like a series of tubes. Now its believed to be like a cloud, although with the points able to connect to any other point.

So sayeth the wise Alaundo.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837671)

Bevets, is that you?

=Smidge=

Re:From TFA: (2, Insightful)

billius (1188143) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837695)

I don't believe Genesis is cited as the source of the geocentric theory of the universe. It's never quite written out in black and white to my knowledge, but it'd definitely alluded to several places in the Old Testament:
1 Chronicles 16:30

Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

Ecclesiastes 1:5

The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.

When dealing with religious issues, it's important to remember that what people actually believe can be quite different from what their scripture says, especially in periods of high illiteracy.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837761)

When dealing with religious issues, it's important to remember that what people actually believe can be quite different from what their scripture says, especially in periods of high illiteracy.

Not only that, but mistranslations can lead to beliefs and practices which don't correspond to the original text. Give those beliefs and practices enough time and they'll become so entrenched that the followers won't care that they are basing their ideas on a mistake.

Re:From TFA: (1)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838585)

I don't believe Genesis is cited as the source of the geocentric theory of the universe. It's never quite written out in black and white to my knowledge, but it'd definitely alluded to several places in the Old Testament:

I'm curious, how often do you read a piece of poetry and assume that the author was making a scientific statement? In the absence of scientific absence, it is understandable that people might read more into a statement than they should, as has happened, but there is no requirement for poetry to be interpreted literally, so while it might be accurate to say that these statements were taken to mean geocentric thinking was correct, it is not accurate to say that they actually endorse such thinking or even have the subject in mind.

Re:From TFA: (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837717)

>he made the stars also.

Where does it say *when* he made them?

Center of the universe (3, Insightful)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837731)

The sun is the center of the universe? I though the sun orbited the Milkey Way Galaxy's central black hole?

A scientific theory isn't judged on whether it's ``true''; we leave the concept of ``truth'' to theologians, creationists and other amateurs.

A scientific theory is judged on how useful it is. What Copernicus showed is that by using a model in which the referential is attached to the sun, rather than the earth (as in the earlier Ptolemean model), many computations become easier.

Note that all of these models are useful under some circumstances. When you compute the distance from your home to the butcher's, you disregard the rotation of the earth, and hence use the Ptolemean model. When you compute the date of Easter next, you use the Copernican model. But if you need to compute the position of our Galaxy in a few billion years, you'll likely want a different model.

Re:Center of the universe (4, Interesting)

genner (694963) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838073)

A scientific theory isn't judged on whether it's ``true''; we leave the concept of ``truth'' to theologians, creationists and other amateurs.

A scientific theory is judged on how useful it is.

I love this statement.
Not because it's true
but because it's useful.

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837765)

He proved that Sol, our sun, was the center of our solar system. Every scientist and religious theologian at the time passionately believed that the Earth was the center of the solar system. So much so, in fact, that people like Galileo Galilei, were imprisoned and threatened with execution by the church for stating otherwise.

E pur si muove! (And, yet it moves.)

The sun is the center of the universe? (1)

RickRussellTX (755670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837795)

Copernicus' realization that the Sun was the center of the universe was revolutionary, even if not mathematically correct by modern standards. The prevailing cosmology, which the church was more than happy to throw people in jail for questioning, was that the Earth was the center of the universe because it was created by God as the divine home for Man. The stars were not known to be like the Sun; they were believed to be lights pinned into the divine firmament.

The history of science is littered with theories that are known to be incorrect, but were more correct than their predecessors. Most of the time, the center of rotation of the solar system lies within the surface of the Sun, so the Sun can be truly said to be the center of the solar system. At the time, Copernicus would have believed that it was therefore the center of the universe.

Re:The sun is the center of the universe? (5, Informative)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838707)

The prevailing cosmology, which the church was more than happy to throw people in jail for questioning, was that the Earth was the center of the universe because it was created by God as the divine home for Man.

Happy to throw people in jail? Really? That's a bit odd when you consider that On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres was prefaced by a Lutheran theologian, dedicated to the Pope and been prompted to be written by the Archbishop of Capua. Even a cursory glance at Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] would make that clear. Why do you think the church was throwing people in jail? over astronomy? A big chunk of astronomers were clerics or funded by the church.

Re:From TFA: (1)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838031)

The Milky Way is the center of the Universe because it is both the creamiest and chewiest part of the Universe.

Ah, Hans, I have been expecting you! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838079)

I would posit that I am the center of the universe. No matter where I am, I'm here. As I walk, the world moves beneath my feet.

Yes, Hans, but you don't have much walking room these days.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838093)

I would posit that I am the center of the universe. No matter where I am, I'm here. As I walk, the world moves beneath my feet.

You could construct an accurately moving model of the solar system, have the earth as the center, and still have it be accurate. The moon doesn't orbit the earth, both bodies orbit a spot somewhere beneath the earth's crust.

It's all a matter of how you look at it.

All points in space are the center of the universe. No matter where you are in the universe, you can look around and see everything moving away from you. Trace that backwards and you'll find that the big bang occurred right where you are, no matter where you are.

I'm going to have to reread Genesis. I don't recall seeing anywhere where it says the earth is the center of anything, let alone the universe.

And what, you expected religious folk to have a rational explanation for what they believe?

Re:From TFA: (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838105)

"A question for you math geeks: can an object of infinite size even HAVE a center?"

It's commonly accepted that the universe is of finite size and has a defined shape.

Re:From TFA: (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838185)

I would posit that I am the center of the universe. No matter where I am, I'm here. As I walk, the world moves beneath my feet.

Yes, that's known as the "egocentric model", in competition with the "geocentric model" popular before Copernicus, and the "heliocentric" model he championed. This is all covered in this highly informative book [besse.at] , which is sadly out of print.

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838289)

What is wrong with that first quoted statement? It's true: that's what Copernicus claimed. It wasn't ultimately right but proved less wrong than Ptolemy's model.

Re:From TFA: (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838377)

Hubble's Law says that every point is, indeed, the center of expansion of the universe, since every other point in the universe is retreating at a distance proportional to its distance.

As for Genesis, it said nothing even about the earth even being round, much less being the center of anything. Assorted fruitcakes have been arguing against that notion even hundreds of years after the earth was circumnavigated which (invoking Occam's razor) leads you to the conclusion that the earth is round (never mind the fact that several hundred human beings have actually seen the round Earth with their own eyes from outside its atmosphere and have essentially testified to its appearance the same way).

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838401)

from an observer on earth, the stars would not have been visible until the plants cleared up our CO2 atmostphere.

Re:From TFA: (1)

aLEczapKA (452675) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838601)

The sun is the center of the universe? I though the sun orbited the Milkey Way Galaxy's central black hole?

Well, almost 500 years ago, people thought our Solar System was the Universe.
The geocentric view had been dominant since the time of Aristotle.
He wasn't the first to come up with the idea that our system is heliocentric.
However he was the first one who came out with the mathematical model of a heliocentric system.
The idea which was later picked up Kepler, who laid foundation for the Newton's theory of universal gravitation, which was picked up by Einstein later. (really really big generalization here, but you get the point)

You may say that what Copernicus had predicted on paper using math, Galileo Galilei saw with his own telescope, thus his famous words 'eppur si muove' (and yet it moves).

Re:From TFA: (3, Informative)

void* (20133) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838603)

I'm going to have to reread Genesis. [virginia.edu] I don't recall seeing anywhere where it says the earth is the center of anything, let alone the universe.

Genesis doesn't. However, there are verses in other books of the Bible that state things like (paraphrased) "God established the Earth such that it cannot move".

Such verses used to be interpreted to mean the Earth did not, in fact, move, which would mean that everything that looked like it was circling the Earth actually was - which logically means the Earth would be the center of the Universe.

Those verses are now interpreted differently.

Heretics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837491)

by Andrew Bird [ekonomiskmgmt.com] :

Bored holes through our tongues
So sing a song about it
Held our breath for too long
'Til we're half sick about it
Tell us what we did wrong
And you can blame us for it
Turn a clamp on our thumbs
We'll sew a doll about it
And tell us all about it

How 'bout some credit now
Where credit is due
For the damage that we've done?
Wrought upon ourselves and others
With a slow and vicious gun
And although pratfalls can be fun
Encores can be fatal
And then I hear you say

"Thank god it's fatal
Not shy
Not shy of fatal
Thank god."

Wait just a second now
It's not all that bad
Are we not having fun?
You're making mountains of handkerchiefs
Where the mascara always runs
So be careful when you're done
You're bound to get post-natal
What, did I just hear you say?

"Thank god it's fatal."
We don't want to hear the sound of a door
And we don't want to read the signs that you bore
You know, the kind of sign you hang on the door
Saying, "we'll be back"--what a crack
Now don't you think we might have heard that before?

Bored holes through our tongues
So sing a song about it
Held our breath for too long
'Til we're half sick about it
Tell us what we did wrong
And you can blame us for it
Turn a clamp on our thumbs
We'll sew a doll about it

a better title: the lost tomb of copernicus (4, Funny)

ed.han (444783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837577)

i'll take "indiana jones 4 movies i would actually have liked" for $2000, alex.

ed

Re:a better title: the lost tomb of copernicus (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838157)

I'm trying to repress any memories of seeing that movie. Thanks for sending me back to square one. Jerk.

This is good news for the church (5, Funny)

fredrated (639554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837609)

Now they can properly burn him at the stake for his heresy.

Re:This is good news for the church (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837791)

Oh, my goodness, you mean he didn't DIAF?

=Smidge=

Re:This is good news for the church (4, Informative)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837945)

Copernicus was a Catholic cleric. He was buried inside a cathedral. The church didn't take objection to his work until six decades after his death, under a changing political and cultural climate.

Re:This is good news for the church (4, Informative)

mog007 (677810) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838591)

They didn't take objection to HIS work because his work was published posthumously. The unfortunate bastard who came after Copernicus, Galileo, was the one who received the ire of the church. Not just because he was contradicting church doctrine, but because he was also using evidence to support his claims.

Re:This is good news for the church (2, Interesting)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838825)

That's right, they thought his stuff was great. It meant they could work out exactly when easter was which made life much easier for them. Previously, easter kept migrating through the year because their calculations were based on the moon (or something like that). It was the greater issue of people using his work to fight the churches control of ideas that caused the crackdown.

Re:This is good news for the church (2, Funny)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837957)

Now they can properly burn him at the stake for his heresy.

Oh, god, that's disgusting. Haven't you ever smelled burning jerky before?!

Re:This is good news for the church (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838583)

Next up is Kepler's mother, who was accused of being a witched and nearly also burned at the stake for that. Maybe they still hold a grudge.

Lord, protect me from thy followers...

OUCH! (2, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837619)

From TFA:

the skull bears a cut mark above the left eye that corresponds with a scar shown in the painting.

Scars are one thing, but a wound that leaves a mark all the way down to the skull... that's gotta sting.

TFA also says that the reconstruction shows a broken nose. Is it even possible to have evidence of a broken nose on the skull? "Broken nose" as shown in the painting is cartilage damage, which would probably all be gone by now.

I'm sure you can add in a broken nose to the reconstruction, but in context, it was being cited as evidence. Just bad journalism, or dubious research?

Re:OUCH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837741)

The article says the scar was over his left eye, but in the picture we can see a mark over his right eye and nothing over his left. I think that's a sign of bad journalism too.

Re:OUCH! (1)

Number6.2 (71553) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837851)

That scar and broken nose just proves he was Fighting for Science!

Today is a great day to be alive! :D

Re:OUCH! (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837947)

Scars are one thing, but a wound that leaves a mark all the way down to the skull... that's gotta sting.

No kidding, but on the fact it isn't as if there is much more than skin to cut through, even the muscles there are pretty thin.

TFA also says that the reconstruction shows a broken nose. Is it even possible to have evidence of a broken nose on the skull? "Broken nose" as shown in the painting is cartilage damage, which would probably all be gone by now.

I'm sure you can add in a broken nose to the reconstruction, but in context, it was being cited as evidence. Just bad journalism, or dubious research?

Given that he seems quite the badass, what with scars that go all the way to his bone, I wouldn't be surprised if the broken nose was actually a true broken nose and had fractures on the bone that the cartilage connects to.

the price of fame (1, Interesting)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837647)

Can they not leave the man in peace. What possible value is there is disturbing him.

Re:the price of fame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837775)

If you can show a gravesite has significant historical interest, you can help stop a hotel/casino/resort/mall from being built over it.

Re:the price of fame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837789)

Well I don't know about you, but I want his long-rotten corpse reanimated and questioned about his thoughts on the Time Cube.

So can they finally find Earth now? (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837691)

Or do they have to wait around for another Bob Dylan track and more surprise skinjob revelations?

Re:So can they finally find Earth now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25837833)

They already did, geez.

check out that portrait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25837727)

Do you get the impression that old Kopernick was the sort of chap that would run down the street screaming pretty much anything, and maybe he got the heliocentric theory thing right just by coincidence?

"Apples will set your house on fire!"

"Birds and dogs mate and give birth to lizards!"

"By rubbing together two sticks, I created cheese!"

"The Earth revolves around the sun!"

"Bannanas are SATAN!!! SATAN!!!"

"Abolish underwear!!!"
---
by Anonymous Coward on Fri Nov 04, '05 03:29 AM (#13948561)

It's Nick's, all Nick's (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25837743)

Although the heliocentric concept had been suggested earlier, Copernicus is widely thought of as the father of the scientific theory of the heliocentric solar system.

Please. All these qualifications are unnecessary.
Copernicus is not considered a great scientist because he woke up one day and said, "Gee, maybe the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around!" His greatness came from all the insight, creativity, and mind-boggling hard work he put in to make this idea objectively sound.

Being the first to have an idea doesn't give you precedence. It's inventing the scientific structure that allows people to validate (and, more importantly, invalidate) your ideas that matters. That's what separates real science from mere speculation.

Re:It's Nick's, all Nick's (2, Interesting)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837993)

You've overlooked Nick's greatest contribution to humanity [google.com] .

Re:It's Nick's, all Nick's (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838493)

Cute story, not very plausible. Both bread and butter have been around for thousands of years. Do you really think that before 1519, nobody thought to spread one on the other?

Clone the dude !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25837839)

Why not clone the dude?

Re:Clone the dude !! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838147)

Why not clone the dude?

First, we can't yet clone humans. But mostly it would be futile. A person is more than his genes, he is his upbringing and experience and training. Clone him or Einstein and the slightest misstep in his growth, particularly prebirth, and he might become severely retarded.

My youngest daughter has an IQ of 132. My oldest had complications at birth and has a measured IQ of 65. Take some kid living in the ghetto or prison who has an IQ of 85 and give his zygote two loving, educated, wealthy parents instead of a whore and an absent junkie and he may well turn out to be smarter than Einstein.

Re:Clone the dude !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25838383)

You obviously live in a cave, or a jail, or in the ghetto (hmm, mac davis). Clones are here, and living amongst us. You can't tell them from regulars except by the lack of a belly button.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/11/17/article-1086567-027B7FE0000005DC-361_233x553.jpg [dailymail.co.uk]

is an example of a clone. Notice the lack of a belly button.

Re:Clone the dude !! (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838557)

Why? So he can tell us again that the Earth revolves around the Sun?

People often posit that famous thinkers of the past, if reconstituted in today's world might lend their genius to contemporary problems. But who's to say that genius is measurable outside of its own context?

Hitting the genetic lottery by itself doesn't lead to greatness.

I fail to see how facial reconstruction... (2, Insightful)

franois-do (547649) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837937)

... can give, from a skull, any hint about the size of the nose and the shape of the ear, both of which are made of just cartilage.

Any hint ?

Re:I fail to see how facial reconstruction... (4, Informative)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838087)

... can give, from a skull, any hint about the size of the nose and the shape of the ear, both of which are made of just cartilage.

Any hint ?

It's a bit of an art, but even artists use models.

In this case, with facial recontstruction you have a lot of data to work from. We have been cataloging human anatomy for a long time, as such we have a lot of evidence for what certain bones look like. We have also are able to combine those bones with pictures of the actual person, or at least compare to facial features of that person's ethnic background.

Bones give a lot of clues to the soft tissue that used to surround them. Ligaments will leave 'scars' on the bones which indicate a whole slew of factors. Did that person use the muscle a lot, was it ever torn. By measuring the size and condition of the 'scar' you can extrapolate what the muscle that connected to it would have been like. The same way you can tell the joint of a 50yr old that ran a lot from a 30 yr old that was just a scribe.

Now the face is a bit different, but for the most part, you know what muscles go where, and they don't vary much. As for noses and ears, look at where the cartilage was attached and you will see similar effects as due to the ligaments. Combine that shape with what you have measured on 1000s of skulls before, and you select the shape of the nose or ear that corresponds to those markings.

And pictures help too ;)

Re:I fail to see how facial reconstruction... (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838347)

... can give, from a skull, any hint about the size of the nose and the shape of the ear, both of which are made of just cartilage.

Any hint ?

Derived from what a grumpy math/physics professor looks like. Heck, he probably even wore a ratty old sweater too.

Re:I fail to see how facial reconstruction... (1)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838407)

Yes. They also found his mugshot by the skeleton. Apparently TFA left that detail behind.

Re:I fail to see how facial reconstruction... (1)

Markimedes (1292762) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838471)

I fail to see how mathematical deduction can prove the earth isn't the center of the universe.

Ironic? (1)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837985)

Is it ironic that the scientists of today chose to revolve the DNA evidence around him (his hair), instead of the son (his heir)?
:)

(AFAIK he had no children - jokes don't need to be accurate.)

How much artist's conception there? (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 4 years ago | (#25837989)

The science of reconstructing what a person looked like from only their skull is a fascinating one and one I admire. I have no doubt they get at least 80% of it right. I have to wonder, though, how much of the Copernicus work is artist's conception, as opposed to scientifically supported by the evidence? There are no bones in the nose and cartilage doesn't last like bone. How did they determine the size and shape of the nose? It looks more like a caricature or a video game nose. I know people with big noses and I've never seen one that odd looking. And what about the ears? Those would be bigger, I imagine, again based on my experience with people who have long heads like our old friend here. Outsized ears, like prince Charles, or Chris Kraft [wikipedia.org] . I bring up Kraft because I just saw him in a NASA documentary and, if anything, his ears today seem to have grown larger if that's humanyly possible.

Anyway, this is a cool development. Copernicus is the first example I use when I hear people telling stereotypical "dumb Polack" jokes. A truly revolutionary genius and one of my favorite historical figures.

So where's Jimmy Hoffa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25837999)

Should be a piece of cake now right?

Re:So where's Jimmy Hoffa? (1)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838605)

No, more like a piece of bridge abutment!

Why? (1)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838039)

I'm usually up for most kinds of humane scientific inquiry without question and I'm not squeamish about desecrating graves but this seems sort of pointless.

Did they expect to find something special about his remains?
Where burial rites of astronomers of his time a mystery?
Was he buried with an antique text that could shed light on his discoveries?
Were gold doubloons involved?
Was this part of a wacky bet or some bizarre clause in an eccentric rich person's will?
Could "I found Copernicus' tomb" be a new Polish pickup line?
Did they think it would make a neat geocache?

I just can't quite think of a great reason to go to this much effort for the scientific equivalent of adding a stop on a map of hollywood star's homes that happens to be especially run down and dirty.

Re:Why? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838255)

Well, if they're going to do DNA analysis, there's various indexes of famous dead people's DNA that you can compare yourself to. On the historic side, it adds credibility to contemporary accounts. (You thought they were more honest than today's newspapers?) On the tourism side, local authorities always love being able to nail signs up saying "so-and-so is buried here" (helps them to increase taxes) and local thieves can sell Copernicus-themed junk to gullible visitors. On the science side, it is probably worthless.

Re:Why? (1)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838307)

I'd chalk it up to what starts most scientific ideas: I wonder what if..?

Re:Why? (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838723)

You left out "Reality TV Show".

It's called a broken chain of evidence ... (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838609)

Unless they can prove the hair in the book belonged to Copernicus , they merely proved that they found the remains of someone who may have had contact with the book. For all we know Copernicus had a Gay lover, or took a piece of hair from a stranger and planted it in his book :-)

[The second option brought to you by the TinFoilHatSociety ].

Man, if Copernicus knew about this... (4, Funny)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838687)

...his grave would be spinning about him.

Reaches my comfort level (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 4 years ago | (#25838837)

A computer-generated facial reconstruction is said to also bear a resemblance to contemporary portraits of the scientist."

Oh, really? Generated by an actual computer? Well then, that's good enough for me.

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