The gradual acceptance of the Copernican theory of the universe

Paperback | August 24, 2012

byDorothy Stimson

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Excerpt: ...to common appearances. 366 And these books appeared when political and constitutional matters, and not astronomical ones, were the burning questions of the day in England. The spread of the doctrine was also helped by Thomas Salusbury's translations of the books and passages condemned by the Index in 1616 and 1619. This collection, "intended for gentlemen," he published by popular subscription immediately after the Restoration, 367 a fact that indicates that not merely mathematicians (whom Whewell claims 368 were by that time all decided Copernicans) but the general public were interested and awake. 369 The appearance of Newton's Principia in 1687 with his statement of the universal application of the law of gravitation, soon ended hesitancy for most people. Twelve years later, John Keill, (1671-1721), the Scotch mathematician and astronomer at Oxford, refuted Descartes's theory of vortices and opened the first course of lectures delivered at Oxford on the new Newtonian philosophy. 370 Not only were his lectures thronged, but -91- his books advocating the Copernican system in full 371 went through several editions in relatively few years. In the Colonies, Yale University which had hitherto been using Gassendi's textbook, adopted the Newtonian ideas a few years later, partly through the gift to the university of some books by Sir Isaac himself, and partly through the enthusiasm of two young instructors there, Johnson and Brown, who in 1714-1722 widened the mathematical course by including the new theories. 372 The text they used was by Rohault, a Cartesian, edited by Samuel Clarke with critical notes exposing the fallacies of Cartesianism. This "disguised Newtonian treatise" was used at Yale till 1744. The University of Pennsylvania used this same text book even later. 373 In 1710 Pope (1688-1744) refers to "our Copernican system," 374 and Addison (1671-1719) in the Spectator (July 2, 1711) writes this very modern passage: "But among this set of...

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Excerpt: ...to common appearances. 366 And these books appeared when political and constitutional matters, and not astronomical ones, were the burning questions of the day in England. The spread of the doctrine was also helped by Thomas Salusbury's translations of the books and passages condemned by the Index in 1616 and 1619. This col...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:54 pages, 9.69 × 7.44 × 0.11 inPublished:August 24, 2012Publisher:General Books LLCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0217628079

ISBN - 13:9780217628075

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