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Serpens
2005-Feb-21, 07:25 AM
Hello!
I think everyone of you know who Copernicus (Kopernik) was. I am writing here because one thing associated to him has shocked me.
I was reading a Polish edition of 'Scientific American' when my mother turned the TV on. I heard the name 'Copernicus' and it immediately got my attention. It turned out that our National Astronomy Abuser, the Public TV, was making a survey about Copernicus. They asked a quick question about who he was and what did he discover. I didn't hear the whole survey, but three answers were amazing:
"Copernicus discovered America"
"He created the astronomy. He was in space"
"Copernicus was an astronaut".
Thanks God, I don't remember more. I was simply shocked when I heard those results.

Now, Copernicus was our Polish national hero. We all should now even the basic things about him. A typical Polish citizen may not know, for example, about Kepler or Flamsteed, but, let me state it again, Copernicus is our national hero, comparable even to Neil Armstrong. And yet, some of us still spout such a nonsense about him. What if those three answers are representative to our nation?
What kind of nation are we?

kucharek
2005-Feb-21, 08:11 AM
You have to consider what kind of survey it was. Often, these things are done for comedy. You kick away the hundred reasonable answers and keep the five silly ones. With surveys, you've always a basic percentage of silly answers, absolutely independend from the subject you ask. I guess, you can get the same stuff by asking who is Karol Józef Wojtyła.

BTW, in Poland, is Copernikus better known under his real polish name or also the latinized form?

Harald

PS: I live not too far away from Kepler's birthplace. One of Kepler's descendants has some, er, interisting opinions his ancestor would be pretty happy about. (Imagine Johannes Kepler spinning in his grave...)
http://www.s-line.de/homepages/keppler/2frame.htm
(Follow link on your on risk)

Serpens
2005-Feb-21, 12:25 PM
The survey was rather serious, and there were both good and awful answers.
The person in question in commonly known as Mikołaj Kopernik. I just used the name Copernicus here because of language purposes.

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-21, 12:32 PM
The person in question in commonly known as Mikołaj Kopernik. I just used the name Copernicus here because of language purposes.
There was something I didn't know, I thought Copernicus was his true name. If someone asked me about Kopernik I wouldn't know who they were talking about. Learn something new every day . . .

Shows or news articles about our ability to recognize famous historical figures crops up in North America every year or so, usually in an attempt to make a point about poor educational standards. Whenever they do such a survey, usually asking about George Washington, Lincoln . . . etc, they never get 100% correct responses.

Serpens
2005-Feb-21, 12:50 PM
The person in question in commonly known as Mikołaj Kopernik. I just used the name Copernicus here because of language purposes.
There was something I didn't know, I thought Copernicus was his true name. If someone asked me about Kopernik I wouldn't know who they were talking about. Learn something new every day . . .

Shows or news articles about our ability to recognize famous historical figures crops up in North America every year or so, usually in an attempt to make a point about poor educational standards. Whenever they do such a survey, usually asking about George Washington, Lincoln . . . etc, they never get 100% correct responses.

This is not so simple. Kopernik is his 100% Polish name, Copernicus - English name (or latinized? I don't know). The person who you know as Washington is called Waszyngton in Poland. It all depends on the language.

Matt McIrvin
2005-Feb-21, 01:45 PM
In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Latin was the international language of scholars in Europe, and most people who wrote about learned topics wrote in Latin and used Latinized versions of their names on their writings. Sometimes they'd use a Latin-sounding name that was phonetically similar (such as Kopernik->Copernicus); other times they'd construct a Latin equivalent that was etymologically related.

So most of the philosophers, alchemists and so forth of the age, including the medieval Arab writers on astronomy and medicine, are still often known by pseudo-Latin versions of their names.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Feb-21, 07:31 PM
Cartesian <- Cartesius <- Descartes :)

kucharek
2005-Feb-21, 07:49 PM
Agricola -> Bauer (that's German for 'Farmer')

ngc3314
2005-Feb-21, 07:52 PM
In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Latin was the international language of scholars in Europe, and most people who wrote about learned topics wrote in Latin and used Latinized versions of their names on their writings. Sometimes they'd use a Latin-sounding name that was phonetically similar (such as Kopernik->Copernicus); other times they'd construct a Latin equivalent that was etymologically related.

So most of the philosophers, alchemists and so forth of the age, including the medieval Arab writers on astronomy and medicine, are still often known by pseudo-Latin versions of their names.

Notably in lunar craters, whose names were assignd early on by folks thoroughly steeped in the Renaissance Latin-intellectual tradition. Copernicus, Linnaeus, Albategnius, Arzachel, Clavius,... and retroactively to Alphonsus, Ptolemaeus and so on. Most of the Al- and Ar- names started out as Arabic, and lots of others are obvious from the -us ending. The practice was evidently fading in the generation after Copernicus/Kopernik, since we still remember Galilei, Brahe, Kepler.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Feb-21, 07:59 PM
Most geographic features of Mars were also given Latin names, IIRC.

QuagmaPhage
2005-Feb-21, 08:03 PM
The practice was evidently fading in the generation after Copernicus/Kopernik, since we still remember Galilei, Brahe, Kepler.

A little nitpick: Tycho Brahe is a latinized version of Tyge Brahe.

ngc3314
2005-Feb-21, 08:07 PM
The practice was evidently fading in the generation after Copernicus/Kopernik, since we still remember Galilei, Brahe, Kepler.

A little nitpick: Tycho Brahe is a latinized version of Tyge Brahe.

Thanks for the correction. Even as prominently as he figured in a biography of Kepler I just finished, I never knew that.

Russ
2005-Feb-21, 09:41 PM
The survey was rather serious, and there were both good and awful answers.
The person in question in commonly known as Mikołaj Kopernik. I just used the name Copernicus here because of language purposes.

Don't be too embarrassed about that. In the USA, they frequently have survey's like this. It is embarassing to me that there are so many Americans who know so little about what I call basic knowledge.

There is a TV talk show host here named Jay Leno. As part of his show, sometimes, he goes out on the street and asks people basic knowlege questions. It is embarrassing enough that some don't know who Copernicus is, for example, but some don't know who the current president or vice president is. :roll:

Thank heavens there are people who are as smart as we! :) :lol:

um3k
2005-Feb-21, 11:59 PM
PS: I live not too far away from Kepler's birthplace. One of Kepler's descendants has some, er, interisting opinions his ancestor would be pretty happy about. (Imagine Johannes Kepler spinning in his grave...)
http://www.s-line.de/homepages/keppler/2frame.htm
(Follow link on your on risk)

I'd like to see Mr. Hollow Earth's explanation of interplanetary travel.

2005-Feb-22, 03:41 PM
Hello!
I think everyone of you know who Copernicus (Kopernik) was. I am writing here because one thing associated to him has shocked me.
I was reading a Polish edition of 'Scientific American' when my mother turned the TV on. I heard the name 'Copernicus' and it immediately got my attention. It turned out that our National Astronomy Abuser, the Public TV, was making a survey about Copernicus. They asked a quick question about who he was and what did he discover. I didn't hear the whole survey, but three answers were amazing:
"Copernicus discovered America"
"He created the astronomy. He was in space"
"Copernicus was an astronaut".
Thanks God, I don't remember more. I was simply shocked when I heard those results.

Now, Copernicus was our Polish national hero. We all should now even the basic things about him. A typical Polish citizen may not know, for example, about Kepler or Flamsteed, but, let me state it again, Copernicus is our national hero, comparable even to Neil Armstrong. And yet, some of us still spout such a nonsense about him. What if those three answers are representative to our nation?
What kind of nation are we?

It would be interesting to know where these questions were asked. My guess is that people in Torun or Crakow would have given better answers.