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Friday, November 21, 2008

Copernicus's Tomb Found via DNA

Copernicus: Conversation with God, by Jan Matejko, 1872.

The missing tomb of 16th Century astronomer Nicolas Copernicus has been definitively located with DNA from two hair strands and a tooth. Tests have confirmed that remains found in Frombork Cathedral in northern Poland in 2005 are those of the man considered the father of modern astronomy.

Copernicus shocked the world by determining that Earth was not the center of the universe, but that the sun was.

Scientists compared genetic material from two strands of hair found in Calendarium Romanum Magnum, a book by Johannes Stoeffler published in 1518 and owned by Copernicus for many years, to a tooth from the skull found in Frombork.

"The two strands of hair found in the book have the same genome sequence as the tooth from the skull and a bone from Frombork," scientist Marie Allen from Uppsala University in Sweden told journalists.

Shocking Astronomical Conclusion

Copernicus' final resting place has until now remained a mystery. Polish, French and German researchers have tried for two centuries to find his tomb.

Coperincus shocked his contemporaries by asserting that the Earth rotated on its axis once a day and traveled around the sun once a year in his pioneering work De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres), published shortly before his death in 1543.

Earlier beliefs based on the Ptolemaic theory put Earth at the centre of the universe, with the sun and stars revolving around it. Pope Paul V condemned his groundbreaking work in 1616 as contrary to scripture.

Click here for the Cosmos magazine article.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Greg

It would be nice if you just lifted a couple of paragraphs from our article and then posted a link, rather than republishing it completely (without permission). By depriving us of web traffic, we cannot tell what stories are popular and which aren't.

Wilson da Silva
Editor, cosmosmagazine.com

Gregory LeFever said...

Here is the thrust of an email I sent later in the day to Mr. de Silva, who seems to have a lot of time on his hands.

Dear Wilson de Silva:

I got this comment today on one of my "Quantum Spirit" blog postings regarding the finding of Copernicus's tomb (I then quoted his posted comment).

I hope this was not really from you. If that's the case, you might want to be alerted.

But for the record:

As you know, the early article on the DNA findings was from Agence France-Presse and appeared in many places, including Cosmosmagazine.com. In fact, I did rework aspects of the article to summarize it. And in fact, I DID link directly to Cosmos magazine as I have done each and every other time I have summarized an article from your excellent online publication.

Therefore, I would hope that my audience of readers would be compelled to visit your site to read articles in their entirety, and that I am not part of the problem but rather of the solution.

ludmil said...

Greg i really enjoyed this article.I think the general idea about"Internet" is to provide a forum for free exchange of ideas,wisdom and knowledge.Trying to stake out a piece of the 'Net" goes against the grain and the ideas of the visionaries who created it at the first place.