Making the world go around

By Rebecca Priestley In Science

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4th April, 2013
A lively two-act play, And the Sun Stood Still, forms the heart of Dava Sobel’s latest work of science history, A More Perfect Heaven. The drama (and comedy) takes place in northern Poland in 1539 and opens with the bedridden Bishop of Varmia vomiting into a basin. He is attended by Nicolaus Copernicus, an aged mathematician and physician and a church canon. The bishop blames the kitchen staff for poisoning him – “That shifty-eyed cook must be a Lutheran sympathiser,” he rages – but recovers enough to demand that Copernicus choose between his “harlot” housekeeper ...

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