Who was Nicolaus Copernicus?

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Imagine a world 500 years ago with no computers and almost no access to information. The great majority of the population didn’t know to read or write and the influence of the church was massive. Basically, during that time, everyone considered that the church was the most influential power in a state and its truths were never to be questioned.

However, the world’s view regarding the Earth and other planets were soon put into question by the remarkable studies of Copernicus. But who was Nicolaus Copernicus? Here are some facts about his life, studies, and theories that soon changed the formally accepted theories regarding astronomy and especially our planet.

 

 

The life of Nicolaus Copernicus

He was born in 1473 in a family of wealthy merchants in the free city of Thorn, or Toruń in present-day Poland. Although some German historians want to claim Copernicus’ German roots, it is widely accepted that he was born in the former Royal Prussia, current Poland.

He was an astronomer and a cosmologist, a mathematician and an economist, as well as a Catholic priest. After his father’s death, his uncle became his legal guardian and the one who sought that Copernicus received proper education at some of the most prestigious universities.

As a result, in 1492 he joins the University of Krakow where he studied maths, rhetorics, grammar, poetry, and cultivated his passion for astronomy. At only 20 years old he receives a doctorate in these studies and, afterward, he leaves for Italy so he can study medicine at the University of Bologna.

He was fluent in Latin and German, but he also spoke Polish, Greek, and Italian. In Italy, he becomes highly interested in astronomy and the cosmological theory of Ptolemy.

 

The work of Copernicus

The work of Copernicus, although not entirely accurate, represented the beginning of fundamental studies in astronomy in the following years. His theories represent the modern beginnings of astronomy as a science.

His work mainly focuses on the previously accepted theory of Ptolemy about a geocentric universe where Earth stood in the middle and all other solar corpuses were gravitating around it. The theory was also supported by the church which often claimed that the Earth is the center of the universe and there cannot be life anywhere else.

He was not only the founder of modern astronomy but also the one who initiated the first scientific revolution thanks to his new hypothesis. After around 40 years of work, he was able to demonstrate that Earth is just a mere planet like all others and not the center of our universe.

However, due to the times he was living in, it is believed that Copernicus waited for almost 30 years to publish his work and theories and, just like with anyone else who challenged the beliefs of the powerful Catholic Church, his writings were banned.

 

5 Biggest volcanic eruptions in history

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Volcanoes are impressive structures that offer a great view when dormant, but which can be scary when they erupt. An eruption is an event were lava, gas and ashes are being expelled with an extreme force out of depths of a volcano. History is filled with such moments, and they have shaped our climate and the way the world looks at the same time.

Mount Tambora is the place where one of the worst events in Earth’s history took place. It occurred in 1815 in Sumbawa, Indonesia, a place prone to such deadly events, including earthquakes and tsunamis. On the day of the event, and the ones that followed it, almost 100.000 people died on the island. All the ashes that were released in the explosion, actually changed the weather and brought low temperatures around the world, so summer never happened, killing even more people due to starvation.

 

 

Krakatoa is a word that still brings chills to our spines today. The exotic-sounding island of Java, from Sumatra, has been almost wiped off the map by an extreme eruption in 1883. The force the volcano generated was the equivalent of 13.000 atomic bombs. More than 35.000 people died, and it holds the record to this day as the loudest thing in the world. The loud noise was enough to hurt the few people that have managed to escape from the fury of the eruption. The explosion was then preceded by a tsunami, which has brought even further destruction.

Mount Vesuvius is a popular destination even today. The Italian volcano is visited by thousands of people yearly and is one of the main attractions in Naples since it is one of the few active volcanoes in Europe. But few people realize that it erupted in 79 AD, suffocation the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum, burying them underneath the burning ashes and lava.

Mount Pelée is not something very familiar to the general public. It is situated in Martinique, a micronation from the Caribbean, colonized by the French. In 1902, the air started to be filled with toxic sulfur, and the volcano quickly exploded. The moment then generated a deadly tsunami which flooded the burning city. What’s even worse is that one side of the volcano collapse, burying people alive and destroying their farms.

And the last notable eruption in the last few thousand years was Nevado del Ruiz, which holds the record as the second deadliest volcanic eruption in the last two centuries. The Armero tragedy took place in 1985, and it killed around 22.000 people in Colombia. It is referred to as being one of the worst natural disasters in modern history and the total damage it inflicted exceeded  $1 billion.

 

5 things you might have not known about Isaac Newton

 

Isaac Newton was a British genius that had many talents. He was a mathematician, a physicist and also an astronomer. Even to these days, hundreds of years after his death in 1726, he is still thought of as one of the greatest minds that has ever walked upon the surface of this earth.

He revolutionized the scientific world with the help of his book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which is perhaps one of the most studied books of all time. This is the work of a genius that has paved the road for mechanics that have later lead to the industrial revolution.

His contributions to the refining of optics have changed the way we look at the sky. He is one of the reasons why telescopes exist, and why they still are endless sources of wonder and happiness. He indulged in all area of the natural world, and he postulated the laws of motion, which are still valid today.

One less known fact about this amazing human is that he is one of the first people to describe the laws of gravity, work which has inspired Einstein’s theory of relativity. And he is also the one that confirmed the heliocentric model of the Solar System.

And the interesting facts don’t end here. Newton also wrote a book called Opticks, in which he revealed how intricate light is and just how fascinating it can be when looked at through a prism. He was a huge inspiration to his peers, thus he was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705.

Newton was always obsessed by something called alchemy, which the science of turning basic elements into gold. This used to be something that was frowned upon in those times, but this never stopped the genius from pursuing it with a burning passion. Needless to say, it never led to anything.

Perhaps one of the most famous things about Isaac is the story with the apple falling on his head, which inspired him to write the laws of gravity. But it is not really true. Or it is just partially true. While he talked about the incident, there isn’t any actual proof of that happening.

Another spicy rumor about the historical figure is that he had a short temper. The story goes that he even set his own laboratory on fire, which ruined most of his research. The story the man himself told was that his dog accidentally did it, but historians don’t think he actually had a dog, let alone a dog named Diamond.

So if you want to learn more about this guy, pick up an apple, get your hands on a telescope and gaze at the endless sky. He was truly one of a kind, and he deserves his place in history.

3 scientific gadgets that make great gifts for kids

December is my favorite month of the year too, not only because you have snow, presents, family, and mulled wine, but also because it’s the perfect time to give back to those you appreciate and make amends with those who have failed you in the past.

With Saint Nicholas and Christmas just around the corner, kids all over the world work on their behavior to embrace the light and stop being naughty. On the other side, parents urge children to write to Santa Claus long lists of wishes in the hope they will have enough time, energy, and money to fulfill at least some of them.

But why not change the game a little bit this year and challenge your kid to become better? Why not, instead of the regular cars, puppets, plush toys, and drones, you offer something truly meaningful to your kid?

If you’re looking for great scientific toys that will also trigger your kid’s imagination and challenge his or her limits, all you have to do is go through my list of items I consider being relevant.

Microscopes and telescopes

These are the perfect items to help your child develop his or her passion for astronomy and biology in a fun and interesting way. There are plenty of microscopes for kids that will help your child see amazing magnified pictures of the surrounding things, and learn more about plants, animals, and humans.

On the other hand, telescopes are great tools to enrich your child’s knowledge about stars and planets. You can play together and discover new galaxies or go even deeper into the science and try to take amazing pictures of the sky and the surrounding bodies.

 

Chemistry sets

If your kid shows early signs of being interested in smells, textures, and substances, you may want to purchase a chemistry set. Based on his or her interest, as well as age and your budget, you can opt for a wide array of interesting chemistry sets. From the science of perfumes to learning the basics in a chem lab and cool chemical reactions set complete with substances, science can be fun and interesting at the same time.

Chemistry and lab sets are perfect for kids age 8 and above, while little children and toddlers should start with the basics. Learning the Periodic Elements Table or how basic substances react may be more appropriate at the beginning.

Robots

Regardless of age or gender, kids will be most likely attracted to robots and everything that has to do with science. So why not search for some true AI robots your kid can interact with or, even better, buy kits that will help them build their own robots?

The real robotic arm that can grab things and deliver them for you is a great choice for youngsters, while simple animal robots could be a great start for younger children. The latter can also have therapeutic purposes, helping your kid gain more self-confidence, reduce fatigue and anxiety.

Having a baby = having a crib

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Choosing the best crib for your infant can be difficult, especially if you’re becoming a parent for the first time. With the plethora of models and features on the market, having some information about the basic features of a crib could help you make the right decision.

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The first feature you have to look for in a crib is certification. This means that the manufacturer has tested the model according to the standards established by the laws, and the crib is considered to meet the safety level required to be on the market.

Secondly, based on your budget and on your plans for the future, you have to decide whether you want to spend money on a standard crib that will probably be good for your child for about two years, or if you want to spend a little more on a convertible crib that will last throughout toddlerhood and maybe further along. A portable crib has the advantage of being foldable and easily transportable, but won’t be of much help once your newborn grows. Portable cribs are great if you know how to use them properly.

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Size, as usual, matters. While you have to consider the space you have available for placing the crib, going smaller than the standard size, that is 52*27.8 inches, may interfere with your baby’s growth rhythm and sleep comfort.

Safety features such as teething rails and a small distance between the slats are crucial for keeping your infant out of the pain that appears with splinters and blocked limbs.

While not an absolute reference point, the price of the crib can give you an idea about the quality of the materials and manufacture. Since the prices can go from one hundred to several thousands of dollars, finding a medium price in your budget range shouldn’t be that hard.

Most cribs come without a mattress, but they still have to have a sturdy mattress support. Wood presents greater risks than metal, so our advice is to go for the second option, as it is the safer choice. If a mattress is included, make sure it is a firm one, for your baby will need body support. Innerspring mattresses are considered better for infants, as a surface that’s too soft can even lead to SIDS.

If you’re still not sure what type would fit your needs the most, we recommend going through some users reviews and dedicated forums that should give you an idea about what other parents consider important.