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Scientists who changed the way we see the Universe: Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and Galileo.
Scientists who changed the way we see the Universe: Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and Galileo.
476 backers pledged €123,018 to help bring this project to life.

About

Discovering the History of Astronomy

€123,018

476

If we finish it successfully, the print-run will be short (only 15% more than those pledged for), so the chance really is unique. 

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Whether or not you deem yourself a science enthusiast, all of us have heard the names Copernicus, Kepler (or Galileo at least). Scientists. All who changed the way we see the universe - they changed how one understood humanity. 

Discovering the History of Astronomy - Scientists who changed the way we see the Universe, is a six book collection starting with Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and Galileo:

  • De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (Nicolaus Copernicus)
  • Astronomiae instauratae mechanica (Tycho Brahe)
  • Astronomia Nova (Johannes Kepler)
  • Harmonices Mundi (Johannes Kepler)
  • Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (Galileo Galilei)   
  • Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze (Galileo Galilei) 

(All will be translated from Latin/Italian into English).

We are creating a 'galaxy' of books - each one inspired by a different planet. With that metaphor in mind - special printing techniques have been applied to the cover of each book to reflect the planet they represent and create an experience for the reader, as they discover the title of each book.

Foundations of the Collection 

The Scientific Revolution is a concept used to explain the emergence of science during the early modern age, associated mainly with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry transformed the ancient and medieval visions on nature and laid the foundations of modern science. The Scientific Revolution is traditionally assumed to start with the Copernican Revolution (initiated in 1543) and to be complete in the ‘grand synthesis’ of Isaac Newton's 1687 Principia.

NICOLAUS COPERNICUS (1473 – 1543)

Copernicus was a Polish astronomer - he was the first astronomer to formulate a heliocentric cosmology theory that displaced the Earth as the center of the Universe.

He spent about twenty-five years working on the development of his heliocentric model. At that time it was difficult for scientists to accept it, since it was a real revolution.

Copernicus is considered the founder of modern astronomy, as he established the bases that would allow Galileo and Isaac Newton to culminate the astronomical revolution.

Book 1: De revolutionibus orbium coelestium

We can consider Nicolaus Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543) as the beginning of the Scientific Revolution.

The book is his major work and where he described his heliocentric theory. According to this theory - the Earth was not at the center, but Earth and planets move around the Sun. 

Copernicus maintained that the Sun was at the center of the system, although he was wrongly defending a circular orbit. However, the idea that the earth moved around the sun was questioned by most of Copernicus' contemporaries.

We have linked Copernicus' book to Mercury, as it's the first book within our collection. Mercury is a hot planet so part of the title is covered with thermochromic ink. As heat is applied by placing your finger across the black ink - the full title begins to emerge. 

The discoveries of Johannes Kepler and Galileo gave credibility to Copernicus’ theory. Kepler was an astronomer, who using the exact observations of Tycho Brahe, proposed that planets move around the sun not in circular orbits, but in ellipticals.

But first of all, who was Tycho Brahe?

TYCHO BRAHE (1546 – 1601)

Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer, a great observer. His accurate observations helped Johannes Kepler to publish his theory of elliptical planet orbits instead of the circular ones that people believed them to be. Brahe was considered the greatest observer of the sky in the period before the invention of the telescope.

Tycho thought that progress in astronomy could not be achieved by occasional observation and spot investigations, but that systematic measurements were needed night-after-night, using the most precise instruments possible. He created a lot of instruments for his work and needs.

Book 2: Astronomiae instauratae mechanica 

Those inventions were described in the book Astronomiae instauratae mechanica, with beautiful engineering illustrations. The instruments designed by Brahe allowed him to measure the positions of stars and planets with a precision far superior to that of the time. He was able to make a precise star catalog of more than 1000 stars. Since then, his scientific instruments have been widely copied in Europe.

We have linked Brahe's book to Venus, as Venus is the brightest planet. The use of phosphorescent ink over the cover, means that in the dark, the title is revealed.

After the death of Brahe, measurements on the position of the planets became into possession of Kepler (Brahe's assistant at that time) and the measures of the movement of Mars were essential to formulate the three laws that govern the movement of the planets.

JOHANNES KEPLER (1571 - 1630)

Kepler was an astronomer who using the exact observations of Tycho Brahe, proposed that planets move around the sun not in circular orbits, but in ellipticals. Along with his other laws of planetary motion, this allowed him to create a model of the solar system that was an improvement over the original Copernicus system. 

Kepler's laws are three scientific laws that describe the planet's movement around the Sun. These laws apply to any orbiting body around another (for example the Moon or the artificial satellites and the Earth).

Kepler's work, published between 1609 and 1619, improved Nicolau Copèrnic's heliocentric theory by explaining how the velocities of the planets varied, and using elliptical and non-circular orbits. In 1687, Isaac Newton demonstrated that the relations established by Kepler were applied to the Solar System as a result of their laws of movement and universal gravitation.

Book 3: Astronomia Nova

Published in 1609, Astronomia Nova, is recognized as one of the most important works of the scientific revolution.

In this book, Kepler's first two laws of planetary movement are presented, which was a major change in astronomy. Results of his investigations appear over more than ten years on the movement of the planets.

In Astronomia nova, Kepler introduced the idea of elliptical orbits. 

We have linked Astronomia Nova to Earth. Earth is the planet of life, of growth. To discover the title of this book, you 'remove' part of the cover. You can then plant the removed piece into the earth and grow a plant, as the material we use is mixed with real seeds. 

Book 4: Harmonices Mundi 

In Harmonices Mundi (1619) Kepler tries to explain the planetary movements based on a geometric model of proportions between different polyhedra, relating these with musical scales. Kepler explained in this work his theory that each planet produces a musical tone during its revolutionary movement around the Sun and that the frequency of the tone varies with the angular velocity of the planets. According to Kepler, the planets produce constant musical notes. 

The ‘musical’ theory was discarded, but gave us a beautiful book with illustrated musical notes and more importantly, the first formulation of the third-law of planetary movement.

We linked Harmonices Mundi to Mars. Since Mars is the red planet, we use a red paper with abundance, which simulates the craters of the planet. 

GALILEO GALILEI (1564-1642)

Galileo was one of the first modern thinkers to clearly state that the laws of nature are mathematics.

He improved the telescope and, therefore, the astronomical observation, and supported the Copernican heliocentric theory. Sometimes he is called ‘the father of astronomical observation’, the ‘father of modern physics’ or the ‘father of modern science’. 

Stephen Hawking said: "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science."

The main contributions of Galileo to the acceptance of the heliocentric system were around its mechanics, the observations made with his telescope, as well as his detailed presentation of the case for the system. Galileo was able to explain why the rocks that fall from a tower do it downwards even if the earth rotates. His observations of the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, the spots on the sun and the mountains on the moon helped to discredit the Aristotelian philosophy and the Ptolemaic theory of the solar system. 

Book 5: Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo 

Published in 1632 and written in the form of a dialogue between several characters in Italian, the author attacks the geocentric model of Ptolemy's solar system and defends the Copernican heliocentric model.

Galileo was accused and judged by the church for holding the belief, considered heretical, that the Earth moves around the Sun. The Inquisition prohibited the works that affirmed the centrality of the Sun and the mobility of the Earth, the Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus was also prohibited, and they prohibited Galileo from teaching or defending, nor how to hypothesis or as truth, the Copernican doctrine.

The dialogue takes place in Venice during 4 days, where three interlocutors discuss the ptolemeic system and the copernican. The book is not neutral, but clearly defends heliocentrism, with different arguments.

The three characters are:

  1. Filippo Salviati: he is a copernican, refers to a Florentine nobleman who met Galileo in 1611.
  2. Gianfrancesco Sagredo: he is a neutral personage, but in fact he is let convince by Salviati. He is the friend of the soul of Galileo, known from his time in Venice. Is the host of the meeting.
  3. Simplicius: represents ptolemaic thinking.

We linked Dialogo to Jupiter. Jupiter is a very gaseous planet. To connote this idea, the title is hidden behind a translucent sheath that lets the reader take a glimpse into the title.

Book 6: Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze 

Published in 1638, also written in the form of a dialogue between the same characters, Galileo collects his research on kinematics and science of the materials made throughout his life. It is considered the foundational book of modern physics and more specifically kinematics.

It was written during the confinement suffered by Galileo in Arcetri as a result of the Inquisition's condemnation for having written the book Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo.

Isaac Newton after expressing the three basic principles of dynamics, points out that these principles derive from Galileo's experiments and theories on free-fall movements and on an inclined plane and on the two-dimensional movement, such as the launch of the projectiles. Topics of Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze

We linked Discorsi to Saturn. The main feature of Saturn is its great ring. For this reason, what will hide the title of the book, will be the several rubber bands that surround it. 

We need you!

As it's a project of 6-books, it’s a major investment for a small company. Maintaining the quality at the same high-level as past projects; with premium paper/materials, well-printed books and satisfied customers, is always our focus - we need your support.

Your help will be the injection we need to begin the project, develop the design, translate the texts and print this wonderful collection of works.

All books will be translated into English and they can be pledged for individually (or as a collection).

Project Timeline

We have developed the following project calendar (timings based on previous experience):

  • February 2019. Campaign finished.
  • March 2019. Start translations.
  • June 2019. Brahe’s book translation finished.
  • August 2019. Copernicus’s book translation finished.
  • October 2019. Kepler’s books translations finished.
  • December 2019. Galileo’s books translations finished.
  • February 2020. All books designed and ready to be reviewed (minor corrections).
  • March 2020. Ready to send to print.
  • Mid-April 2020. Books printed. Shipping starts! 

It will be a 14-month journey, focusing our work on quality.

All books will be shipped at the same time in April 2020, to optimize design and printing costs.

Risks and challenges

The main challenge of this project will be to organize and manage the team of international translators whom we have contacted.
It will also be important to know how many books of each publication are pledged for, to deal with print-runs. It could be possible that a book has less pre-orders than estimated by us.

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Funding period

- (33 days)