The Astronomical Worlds of Thomas Harriot
Dr. Owen Gingerich
March 27, 2007
In the past three decades Professor Gingerich has become a leading authority on the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler and on Nicholas Copernicus, the 16th- century cosmologist who proposed the heliocentric system. The Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer undertook a three-decade-long personal survey of Copernicus' great book, De revolutionibus , examining over 580 sixteenth-century copies in libraries scattered throughout Europe and North America, as well as those in China, Japan, and Australia. His annotated census of these books was published in 2002 as a 434-page monograph. In recognition of these studies, he was awarded the Polish government's Order of Merit in 1981, and more recently an asteroid has been named in his honor. An account of his Copernican adventures, The Book Nobody Read, published in 2004 by Walker & Co., has now been issued as a Penguin paperback.
Besides nearly 600 technical or educational articles and reviews, Professor Gingerich has written more popularly on astronomy in several encyclopedias and journals. Two anthologies of his essays have appeared, The Great Copernicus Chase and Other Adventures in Astronomical History from Cambridge University Press and The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler.
Dr. Gingrich will also make a presentation at Manteo, NC, on "Thomas Harriot and the Early Frontiers of Astronomical Observation" on March 2.