Dennis Danielson photo                Dennis Richard Danielson
Go to the Homepage
Go to The First Copernican Page
Go to the Book of the Cosmos page
Go to the Curriculum Vitae and Publications page
Go to the Research and Affiliations page
Go to Copernicus and the Tale of the Pale Blue Dot
Go to the Contact page

I grew up in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, surrounded by the ocean and obsessed with birds and fish. Perhaps this is what gave me my taste for awe-inspiring and beautiful things, helped along by my subsequent study of philosophy and literature, by the eventual harmonious influence of my wife, Janet Henshaw Danielson, who is a composer, and by John Milton, whose epic Paradise Lost spans the whole physical universe and then some. In any case, my teaching and research interests are now an amalgam of poetry, history, and science, with an emphasis on the literature of cosmology.

Paradise Lost book cover



Paradise Lost by John Milton, Parallel Prose Edition
See Larger Image


CBC Radio Interview, December 9th, Milton's 400th Birthday.
Listen to the Interview



The First Copernican book cover

The First Copernican:
Georg Joachim Rheticus and the Rise of the Copernican Revolution

What others have said:

“An illuminating picture of the intellectual and cultural life of Germany as the new science made its impact.”
        —Kirkus Reviews

“Here is the definitive story, brilliantly researched, of the troubled young rebel who persuaded the reluctant Copernicus to publish his radical sun-centered cosmology. Danielson captures the compelling yet sobering saga of Georg Joachim Rheticus.”
        —Owen Gingerich, Harvard University, author of The Book Nobody Read

What we now call the Copernican Revolution started with an army of one solitary soldier—Georg Joachim Rheticus. After the death of Copernicus, Rheticus himself became a celebrated scientist and teacher, until his self-destructive lifestyle robbed him of his possessions and his university position. In an uncanny repetition of history, Rheticus was rescued by a young man who sought him as a mentor, just as Rheticus had sought out Copernicus years before. Dennis Danielson tells this pivotal story in the history of ideas with authority, compassion, and excitement.”
        —Dava Sobel, author of Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter, and The Planets

“In The  First Copernican, Dennis Danielson brings learning,  admiration and precise scholarship to the task of writing the  first popular biography of this puzzling figure. ... His elegant,  well-illustrated book brings back to life a lost world of  16th-century scholars and their ways. More important, it is a model  attempt to connect a protagonist’s scientific work with his  emotional and personal life, without engaging in exaggeration or  bathos.”
        —Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History, Princeton University, author of Magic and Technology in Early Modern Europe, Bring Out Your Dead, Cardano’s Cosmos, and Defenders of the Text (link to the full review)

Podcast interview on The First Copernican on - click here.

More Links:

The Book of the Cosmos book cover


The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking