May 24, 1543 — Copernicus publishes ‘De revolutionibus orbium coelestium’

Technically, this is actually the date of Copernicus’ death, however, since no authoritative dating other than ‘shortly before his death’ exists for the publication of ‘De revolutionibus orbium coelestium’, I have chosen to use this date.

‘De revolutionibus orbium coelestium’, or in English, ‘On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres” is the single most famous work regarding the heliocentric theory of the solar system, i.e. the theory that the planets revolve around the Sun. It inspired considerable controversy in its day, which is one reason why Copernicus published it when he did – the historical evidence suggests that it was written between 1510 and 1530 – and effectively disproved the Platonic theory that the sun and planets revolved around the Earth.

November 25, 1915 — Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is published

One of the most revolutionary theories of physics of all time, Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity turned the celestial mechanics of Isaac Newton on its head, and set the stage for the quantum mechanical revolution in physics that characterised the Twentieth Century. Along with Heisenberg, Bohr, Schrodinger, Feynmann and others, Einstein’s work changed the way we understand our world, but even in that august company, Einstein is a titan among giants, a man whose name has become a byword for genius.

The General Theory of Relativity resists easy summation. It was created to reconcile various anomalies in Newton’s theory of Universal Gravitation, as well as between Newton and Einstein’s earlier Special Theory of Relativity, and forms an important part of our current understanding of physics, gravitation and cosmology – the Big Bang Theory draws upon it, for example.

Einstein 1921 by F Schmutzer - restoration.jpg
By <a href=”” class=”extiw” title=”w:en:Ferdinand Schmutzer”>Ferdinand Schmutzer</a> – <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external free” href=”;jahr=2006″>;jahr=2006</a> [<span title=”” class=”plainlinks”><a class=”external text” href=””>dead link</a></span>], <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”;jahr=2006″>archived copy</a> (<a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=””>image</a>), Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

The World’s Address — They Might Be Giants