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The Unknown Copernicus: Spies, Printers, Amazons, and Body-Snatchers in an Age of Astronomical Revolution

April 28, 2016,3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The lecture

We remember Nicholas Copernicus primarily as the first modern astronomer to propose that the Earth does not rest in the center of the universe but rather moves in a high-speed orbit around the Sun. Most of his professional life, however, was spent not in astronomy but in working as a church government official who oversaw political negotiations, property and boundary disputes, and even a short military campaign during an era of extraordinary political and social upheaval. This talk will explore some of these other features of Copernicus’s time, including the colorful cast of characters who intersected with his life and work and what these more Earth-bound aspects of his biography tell us about the context of how he came to revolutionize our understanding of the heavens.

The speaker

Karl Galle is a historian of science specializing in the early history of astronomy, cartography, and other mathematical arts. From October 2015 to June 2016, Dr. Galle is in residence at the Linda Hall Library as a Research Fellow. From 2011 to 2015 he was a visiting professor at the American University in Cairo, and before that he served as a science and technology policy fellow with the State Department and a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development. He holds a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from the University of London and is currently working on a biography of the life and times of Nicholas Copernicus.

Admission tickets

The lecture is free and open to the public; however, e-tickets are required. Can’t make it to the Library for the lecture? Watch from your desktop or mobile device via live stream.


Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter.


April 28, 2016
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Eric Ward


Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, MO 64110 United States
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For reservation questions, please email events@lindahall.org or call 816.926.8772 to leave a message.

Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information on these events.