Crossroads of the World: Intersections of Power and Privilege in the Khumbu
Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer and Catholic canon, is one of the most enigmatic figures in the history of science. His monumental work, De Revolutionibus orbium coelestium (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”) is credited with transforming Western astronomy by popularizing a heliocentric model. Such a move had grave ontological consequences; the very existence of the carefully-synchronized anthropocentric cosmos was threatened if Copernicus’ theory was considered a physical reality. Copernicus found an unlikely ally in Andreas Osiander, a fiery Protestant reformer. In his foreword to De Revolutionibus, originally published anonymously, Osiander urged readers to consider the Copernican geometry as an innocuous, ontology-free artifice for calculating planetary motion. His apologetics deflected theological criticism for seventy years and allowed heliocentrism to become firmly entrenched the European imagination.