A More Perfect Heaven by Dava Sobel
How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos

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Sobel is especially successful at animating a crucial debate in the mid-1500s...
-NY Times


By 1514, the reclusive cleric Nicolaus Copernicus had written and hand-copied an initial outline of his heliocentric theory-in which he defied common sense and received wisdom to place the sun, not the earth, at the center of our universe, and set the earth spinning among the other planets. Over the next two decades, Copernicus expanded his theory through hundreds of observations, while compiling in secret a book-length manuscript that tantalized mathematicians and scientists throughout Europe. For fear of ridicule, he refused to publish.

In 1539, a young German mathematician, Georg Joachim Rheticus, drawn by rumors of a revolution to rival the religious upheaval of Martin Luther's Reformation, traveled to Poland to seek out Copernicus. Two years later, the Protestant youth took leave of his aging Catholic mentor and arranged to have Copernicus's manuscript published, in 1543, as De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres)-the book that forever changed humankind's place in the universe.

In her elegant, compelling style, Dava Sobel chronicles, as nobody has, the conflicting personalities and extraordinary discoveries that shaped the Copernican Revolution. At the heart of the book is her play And the Sun Stood Still, imagining Rheticus's struggle to convince Copernicus to let his manuscript see the light of day. As she achieved with her bestsellers Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Sobel expands the bounds of narration, giving us an unforgettable portrait of scientific achievement, and of the ever-present tensions between science and faith.


About Dava Sobel

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Dava Sobel is an award-winning former science reporter for the New York Times and writes frequently about science for several magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Life, and Omni. She lives in East Hampton, New York. Arthur C. Klein is a survey designer and market research specialist. He is the best-selling co-author of Backache Relief, Arthritis: What Works, and Arthritis: What Exercises Work. He lives in East Hampton, New York.
Published October 4, 2011 by Walker Books. 288 pages
Genres: Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for A More Perfect Heaven
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NY Times

Reviewed by Sam Kean on Jan 06 2012

Sobel is especially successful at animating a crucial debate in the mid-1500s...

Read Full Review of A More Perfect Heaven: How Co... | See more reviews from NY Times

Globe and Mail

Reviewed by SIOBHAN ROBERTS on Jan 27 2012

As a playwright, Sobel elegantly curates the facts and melds them with her formidable powers of invention.

Read Full Review of A More Perfect Heaven: How Co... | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

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