"Copernicus' Secret" brings scientist to life

Up until now, little has been known about the personal life of medieval astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, but author Jack Repcheck brings life to the man in his new book Copernicus' Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began. Owen Gingerich reviews the book for the Sunday New York Times.

From the review:

Jack Repcheck’s new biography, “Copernicus’ Secret,” at last brings the astronomer to life in a way that past efforts have not quite achieved. He paints the sites in a particularly vivid fashion, evoking, for example, provincial Frombork, where “the streets were narrow, the cottages small and nondescript, and the entire place smelled of fish.” And he gives a clear account of the political and administrative structures of the cathedral chapter where Copernicus was a senior figure. He describes how the Teutonic knights originally moved into this Prussian area after the Crusades and how at the time of Copernicus their territory almost completely surrounded the Warmian diocese, which owed its loyalty to the Jagiellonian kings in Krakow. Copernicus owed his position to his uncle Lucas Watzenrode, a member of a patrician merchant family and bishop from 1489 to 1512.