The 17th and 18th centuries saw the rise of the Age of Reason. Vast improvements in mechanical engineering and the understanding of physical laws led to the belief that all things, from the human body to the Universe itself, was entirely mechanistic. For what is the heart but a spring, and the nerves but so… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 5: Birth of the Clockwork Universe
This fool wishes to reverse the entire history of astronomy ~ Martin Luther, on Nicolaus Copernicus and his assertion that the Sun, rather than the Earth, was at the centre of the Universe. The high-profile incidents involving Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei in the 16th and 17th centuries are well known. Modern interpretations that conveniently… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 4: Uncentering the Earth
Our earliest ancestors conceived of an anthropomorphic universe – a universe made in the image of human beings. The Sun and Moon, the wind and clouds, the rocks and trees, all were imbued with spirits that had human traits. As the ancients discovered more about the natural world and its workings, their universe turned into… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 3: Anthropomorphic, Anthropocentric and Anthropometric Universes
What is cosmology anyway? Science tears things apart into constituents of greater and greater specialization – often into smaller and smaller pieces – and devotes closer and closer attention to detail. Cosmology is the one science in which specialization is rather difficult. While other scientists are pulling the universe apart into progressively more detailed pieces,… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 2: What, Why and Who?
This blog finally takes off, with a series on cosmology as I begin my own journey through Edward Harrison’s book Cosmology: The Science of the Universe. Thumbing through the pages, I can’t help but feel excited about its unique contents – it’s about cosmology as a science, yet emphasizes its historical, philosophical and theological roots… Read More Reflections in Cosmology 1: Masks of the Universe