Heliocentric Coffee

Would we drink coffee with Nicolaus Copernicus?

Kristy: Sure. I mean the nice thing about those Renaissance Men was that they knew a little about everything, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find something to talk about. The bad thing about those Renaissance Men, of course, was that they knew a little about everything, so I will no doubt leave feeling like a colossal idiot. But hey, grad school as me well acquainted with that sensation. I’m going to do my best to skip the hard science discussion and ask him about two things I find much more interesting: education and national identity. Yes, I realize the man revolutionized science, and that’s important, but I also think that makes it that much more interesting to know what he thinks of our current educational models. Does he applaud the trends toward specialization or wish people were forced to be more well-rounded? And yes, I’m very curious to know what he considered himself: Polish? Prussian? German? Silesian? Do any of these terms mean anything at all to him? Yes, I know it’s no more relevant to him than it was to thousands of people of his generation, but I’m not having coffee with them. I’m having coffee with him, and while were there I’d like some insight into identity perceptions is fifteenth-century Poland.

Cammy:  Coffee with Copernicus?  To quote Gus from Psych, “You know that’s right!”  Of course I want to have coffee with him.  He’s a lawyer, he’s a scientist, no one knows what flavor of European to truly call him–he’s like my really poorly timed and incredibly funny lookin’ soul mate.  A huge part of my family comes with that same troublesome cultural classification issue (Prussian?  Polish?  German?  Silesian?  Just confused?), so maybe his insight into where he puts himself could help with putting my only family tree into the right buckets.  I’m not so scared of the hard science discussion, but I am more interested in some of what Kristy wants to talk to him about, particularly the specialization vs. seeking broad-based knowledge.  I’m guessing he’d have some choice comments to make about how we’ve divided up subject matter and, in some cases, pitted them against one another (art and science mutually exclusive?  Not for him!).  At least with him, we’re not going to be limited on topics.

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