Lives in Astronomy

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery – TRANSCEND Media Service*

Human History as Cultural History

At present, history is taught as though power struggles were its most important aspect. Furthermore, the present teaching of history is indoctrination in nationalism. We need to reform our teaching of history so that the emphasis will be placed on the gradual growth of human culture and knowledge, a growth to which all nations and ethnic groups have contributed.


John Scales Avery

A New Freely Downloadable Book

I would like to announce the publication of a book, which reviews the lives and thoughts of some of the women and men who have contributed importantly to the development of astronomy, from ancient times to the present. The book may be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link:


This book is part of a series on cultural history. Here are links the other books in the series that have,  until now, been completed:

Our Enormous Universe

From prehistoric times until the present, every culture has tried to explain the origin of the universe, the Sun, Moon and stars, and the Earth, with its humans, plants and animals.

In the earliest of these  creation myths, imaginative poetical images predominate. The myths of creation were handed down orally, and to hold the attention of listeners, the stories had to be dramatic and entertaining.

Gradually, over many thousands of years, astronomy developed, and the Earth began to loose its privileged position as the center of the universe. During the Hellenistic Era, (323 B.C.-31 B.C.), Aristarchus of Samos developed a sun-centered cosmology, which was forgotten during the Middle Ages, but rediscovered and further developed during the Renaissance by Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Galileo and Kepler. The work of Isaac Newton brought order and universal natural laws into our picture of the solar system.

Finally, in modern times, the discoveries of Einstein, Hubble, Penzias and Wilson have given us a picture of an almost indescribably vast universe, in which our solar system appears only as an insignificant speck.

Today we are “lost in the stars”. Our planet no longer seems to be the center of the universe, about which everything else revolves. Nevertheless, the Earth is our home, and it is enormously important not only to all humans, but also to the plants and animals with which we share the gift of life.

The Earth may be just a small blue speck. drifting onwards in the dark immensity of space, but it is our home, and we must work with courage and dedication to care for it. We must give our children a future world in which they can survive.

Other Books and Articles about Global Problems Are in These Links:

I hope that you will circulate the links in this article to friends and contacts who might be interested.


*John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London.

He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 13 Jan 2020: TMS: Lives in Astronomy

2020 Human Wrongs Watch

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