Nov
20
2008

Nicolas "Sly dog" Copernicus: What's he thinking about? What's he looking at? The stars? Young research assistants? His future as a cyborg?
Nicolas "Sly dog" Copernicus: What's he thinking about? What's he looking at? The stars? Young research assistants? His future as a cyborg?Courtesy Regional Museum of Turun
Lost for hundreds of years, the final resting place and remains of the father of modern astronomy, Nicolas Copernicus, have been found in the Frombork Cathedral in northern Poland.

Copernicus was born in 1473 in Torun, Poland, and he was the first European to suggest that the Earth rotated on its own axis once a day, and revolved around the sun once a year. Followers of the Ptolemaic theory, which had the universe revolving around the Earth, were all, “Say what?!” And some of them were even, like, “Oh no you di’n’t” and snapped in Z-formation at him. Copernicus was all “Believe it, y’all.”

But then Master C died in 1543, and seventy-three years later a pope condemned his work as contrary to scripture, and a lot of people were all “Copernicus who?” And we all forgot exactly where he was buried.

The Bishop of Frombork, however, had the notion that DJ N.C. Astronomy might be hiding out in the tombs beneath the cathedral. A few years ago, archaeologists found a body that more or less matched Copernicus’ description (male, about 70 years old, dead), but it was only recently that geneticists were actually able to confirm the identification of the remains—DNA taken from the skeleton matched DNA taken from two strands of hair found in a book known to have belonged to Copernicus.

Debate on the issue has now centered on best way to resurrect Copernicus. German researchers, for the most part, are strongly in favor of the zombie method, while their polish counterparts argue that the strength and processing power of a cyborg frame would better suit the crumbly astronomer. French scientists are dead set on cloning a younger, sexier body for Master C. The Bishop of Frombork, meanwhile, just wants to put something nice together for the tomb.

Any thoughts?

UPDATE 11/21—I just came across this article this morning. It's mostly the same information that was in the other article I linked to, but there's a cool image of the facial reconstruction from Copernicus' skull. The final image really does look like Copernicus as an old man.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Thor's picture
Thor says:

One of my all-time favorite experiences at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival was going into a tent to hear an actor do a recreation of a presentation by Copernicus. There were little holes poked into the roof of the tent to create a low-tech planetarium and the actor had a bunch of old telescopes and sextons to explain early astronomy methods along with his battles against the "traditional" thinking of the workings of our universe. I haven't been out to the festival in a number of years, so I don't know if they still do that presentation, but it was a great way to learn about the life and studies of Copernicus.

posted on Thu, 11/20/2008 - 1:01pm
laraemartin1's picture
laraemartin1 says:

Hey, let's clone the dude and let him study and learn todays instruments, and get some more answers from him.

posted on Thu, 11/20/2008 - 2:07pm
Jackie Rabideau's picture
Jackie Rabideau says:

Just emphasizes that you need to stick to your beliefs, even if everyone else thinks your crazy. I can't believe that a pope denounced his work.

posted on Thu, 11/20/2008 - 11:20pm
flybynightsue's picture
flybynightsue says:

It's interesting that people's immediate thoughts are on cloning Copernicus - so that he will continue the work he had done before - I would think that cloning only reproduces the body - not necessarily the exact mind or the spirit of the same man - therefore I would think this would not necessarily work the way people think when they jump to conclusions about cloning.

Sue

posted on Fri, 11/21/2008 - 10:28am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I should mention that this part:

Debate on the issue has now centered on best way to resurrect Copernicus. German researchers, for the most part, are strongly in favor of the zombie method, while their polish counterparts argue that the strength and processing power of a cyborg frame would better suit the crumbly astronomer. French scientists are dead set on cloning a younger, sexier body for Master C.

Is totally made up. By me. People are excited that the DNA match confirmed Copernicus' identity, and the Frombork bishop does want to honor the dead astronomer, but nobody except us (Buzzketeers) is considering cloning him.

posted on Fri, 11/21/2008 - 10:36am
221014629's picture
221014629 says:

It's interesting that someone we think it so great today was at one point in time ignored. To see how society's perception of people and their ideas changes over time says a lot about the changes society goes through. I'm still amazed at what a discovery DNA was and all the information it provides and mysteries it can solve.

posted on Fri, 11/21/2008 - 10:38am
guinevere's picture
guinevere says:

This story is interesting. I almost don't know what to say about it! I've just walked out of the new CSI exibit here at the Science Museum, and it was cool to learn all about DNA and what kinds of information it provides. This was a great story to learn about this!

posted on Fri, 11/21/2008 - 8:44pm
plee057's picture
plee057 says:

TIGHT! but kinda weird. He is the first person who explained about the earth revolution, I think it's cool. Technology these days are so cool.

posted on Wed, 11/26/2008 - 4:50pm

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