UnNews:Google acknowledges Copernicus' birthday
19 February 2013
EARTH, Off-Center -- The 540th birthday of the Renaissance-era Polish mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who helped kick off the Scientific Revolution by using mathematics to prove the heliocentric model of the Solar System, was marked with a special logo doodle by Google. A logoodel, if you will.
Copernicus, born February 19, 1473, wrote his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) in 1514 at a time when it was all but universally believed that the Earth was the center of Creation. However, he dared not to publish it immediately out of fear of clashing with the Catholic Church's endorsement of geocentricity, leaving the issue to be dealt with by the larger-balled Italian, Galileo Galilei. It wasn't until the year of his death that the book was actually printed.
Fortunately, the suppression of scientific discovery that contradicted the Church's authority was well worth it, since Copernicus was recognized by a dwindling search engine five centuries later.
"Not to toot my own horn, but it certainly is a beauty," commented logo designer Philip Bruno on his work. "I hope to be remembered for this achievement half of a millennium after my own death. It isn't like I'm going to have any children to carry on my legacy." Bruno then made breath fog on his glasses in order to wipe the lens with his shirt before continuing, "Not since my wife's womb rotted out. Thank the God whose existence I personally doubt she's smoking hot. Otherwise, I'd probably leave her."
This isn't the first time Google has invoked the name of Copernicus for the sake of whimsy. April Fools' Day 2004 saw the 'Google Copernicus Center' accepting job applications for their research center on the moon, only to be flooded the next day with hate mail from millions of gullible engineers. Google released a statement apologizing to the poor Oompa-Loompas of science, all the while defending themselves on the grounds that playing a prank doesn't technically constitute "being evil".
Nicolaus Copernicus' birthday comes just four days after the birthday of the other champion of heliocentrism, Galileo. Together, the period beginning with Galileo's birthday and ending with Copernicus' birthday created a span of time known in astronomy circles (and some ellipses) as the extra-long Weekend of Heliocentrist Reflection, reminding citizens of Planet Earth that they are not special in any way whatsoever.
The midpoint, or center, of the long weekend was this past Sunday, i.e. the day named in honor of the Sun, leaving scientists at the Carl Sagan Get-High-Every-Night Institute with the impression that both the astronomy icons' birthdays were caught in a gravitational orbit opposite to each other. Similar to a Counter-Earth on the exact other side of the Sun that we don't know about. Inhabitants of this hypothetical Counter-Earth may be alternate versions of ourselves - a thought that intrigues scientists who find this theory more easily testable than the idea of parallel universes. Some believe Google's doodle fails to capture the true essence of this interpretation of events without something stronger than the Sagan herb.
- Kipernicus "With Google’s head-turning Doodle animation, the sun also rises" Washington Post, February 19, 2013
- Jennifer Horn "Nicolaus Copernicus' 540th Birthday" Google Doodles, February 19, 2013