Heaven on Earth: How Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo Discovered the Modern World

J.S. Fauber. Pegasus, $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-64313-204-4
Fauber, a UC-Riverside PhD student in computer science, seamlessly merges biography, history, and science in this amazing look at the four 16th-century astronomers whose work revealed the heliocentric solar system. Fauber opens with Nicolaus Copernicus, whose love for astronomy diverted him from a planned church career and led him to question whether Earth was at the center of the universe. Fauber then moves to Tycho Brahe, who built on Copernicus’s work while using his royal patron’s resources to build a lavish observatory. A fan letter introduced Brahe to Johannes Kepler, an eager young astronomer who would use Brahe’s observational data to invent astrophysics and show that the planets traveled in elliptical orbits around the sun. Armed with Kepler’s findings and his hand-built telescope, Galileo saw the moon’s terrain, and the moons of Jupiter. In addition to these four figures, Fauber brings 16th-century Europe—when plagues scoured the populace, religious controversies could get one burned at the stake, and a wealthy patron made the difference between success and anonymity—to life. Rich with detail, this is an extraordinary saga of stubborn scientific curiosity, and of the first inklings of this planet’s true place in the universe. Agent: Luba Ostashevsky, Ayesha Pande Literary. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 10/16/2019
Release date: 12/03/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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