Academic journal article Science Scope

Recentering the Universe

Academic journal article Science Scope

Recentering the Universe

Article excerpt

Recentering the Universe By Ron Miller. $31.93. 88 pp. Twenty-First Century Books. Minneapolis. 2013. ISBN: 9780761358855.

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Need a book that will be extraordinarily useful to teachers and students in the upper elementary grades through middle school? In one small volume, Ron Miller describes the lives and accomplishments of four great thinkers of the 1500s and 1600s-Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. Students who read this book will come to understand the unique contributions of each person and how all of their thinking built upon prior Scientific work.

The four men whose lives and work make up the content of this book encountered entrenched beliefs based on mysticism and religious dogma. Kepler, for instance, was surprised by his own findings when he determined the accurate, elliptical planetary orbits. His predecessor, Copernicus, had insisted that planetary orbits must be circular in order to conform to the idea of celestial perfection, but Kepler, troubled as he was, trusted his observational data and his calculations.

The famous conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church in Italy is well known. Miller lays out, in somewhat simplified form, many of the points made in greater detail and with more nuance by Dan Hofstadter in The Earth Moves: Galileo and the Roman Inquisition, among other books on the subject. …

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