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November 2010
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chris/CO149 [userpic]
Now reading

Owen Gingerich, The Book Nobody Read

Dr. Gingerich is a professor of the history of science at Harvard. One day, he read a claim that no one had ever read Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. I know that we all have a book on our shelf that we just have to have for some reason, but never actually read. Or perhaps even need to read.

Now, really, someone had to have read this book. It's hard to recall that we didn't always take for granted the Sun is the center of the solar system, but 4 centuries ago almost no one believed this. Was Copernicus' book important, or wasn't it?

Dr. Gingerich chose to find out, and started tracking down every copy of De revolutionibus he could find, with an eye to looking at any marginal notes he could find. (Everyone wrote in their books back then, which I find odd given how much more expensive they were than now.) This little project has launched the author into an adventure that is now entering its fourth decade, and now tells the story of how we came to learn that the Earth moves around the Sun.

I'm about 60% through. If any of you have read it, please don't give away the ending :-)

Oh, by the way...

Poll #310547 All Show No Go Book Poll

What book do you insist on keeping on your shelf regardless of the fact that you'll never ever read it?


books on my shelves have all been read at least once,
but many that I insist on keeping that I know I may not read again.
(maily keep to loan out to friends).
that's my answer to the poll.

So, I can borrow your De revolutionibus orbium coelestium? (never mind, my Latin isn't that good...:)

Do you write in any? When I was in grade school, the teachers would always be on us, don't write in the book, don't eat while you're reading, and wash your hands! I was thoroughly indoctrinated. I hardly even use a highlighter.

Then in college, I had a physics prof throw a tantrum at the class. We were all being a bit slow, and he went off on how we weren't even making notes in the books and whan *he* was in college he had written in his books so much that he had to throw them away, but *he* had no trouble with the material, *pant* *pant* *pant* *drool*...

Any professor that would drool on your pants material is not fit to eat my books.