Monday, February 23, 2015

Kopernick Memorial

The Kopernik Memorial (1972) by Dudley Talcott, 18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway - donated by Polish Americans in honor of the 500th anniversary of his birth.

This stainless steel sculpture honors Mikolaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernick - 1473-1543) who laid the foundations of modern astronomy.

Kopernick Memorial (1972)

 The earth orbits the sun whose rays extend to infinity.

Kopernik Memorial - 18th & Benjamin Franklin Parkway

At most angles, the sculpture is set against modern buildings, appropriate to the scientist who laid the foundations of the modern understanding of the earth, world, and universe.

At other angles, the sculpture is set against the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, a reminder that Kopernik formulated his heliocentric universe against the canon of the Church which insisted on an earth-centered orthodoxy and held the political power to threaten anyone who deviated from its doctrine of truth.

Kopernick Memorial - Dome of Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul

The bulk of the cathedral seems to loom over Kopernik ...

... but ultimately, rigid belief systems cannot stand against the preponderance of evidence.

The sculpture also suggests Kopernik's homemade astronomical instruments.

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