Past Event

Robert Westman – Copernicus and the Astrologers – Columbia University Seminar in the Renaissance

September 13, 2016
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Faculty House, Columbia University, 64 Morningside Drive, New York

Speaker: Robert Westman, Professor of History, University of California, San Diego

Nicolas Copernicus’s hypothesis that the earth is a planet revolving together with five other planets around a stationary sun is one of the best known claims in the history of science. First announced publicly in print in 1543, Copernicus’s proposal is often described by historians as the beginning of the Scientific Revolution. But what was the question to which Copernicus’s hypothesis was the answer? In The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism and Celestial Order (2011), Westman argues that crucial clues lie in the late-fifteenth century controversy about the status of astrology — although not a single word about astrology exists in any of Copernicus’s extant writings. In this talk, Westman extends his thesis based upon new evidence.

The seminar is free and open to the public. Following the talk, at 7 pm, a speaker dinner will be held with members of this University Seminar.  Interested Columbia affiliates and members of the public may attend dinner with RSVP. Dinner is $30, by check only, payable to Columbia University). Please RSVP to Barbara Vinck,, as soon as possible if you plan to attend either the Seminar or the Dinner.

This event is part of the Columbia University Seminar in the Renaissance.