PARIS—Commemorating one of the most important scientific findings in human history, astronomers around the world Monday celebrated the 300th anniversary of English physicist Edmund Weaver’s discovery of the sky. “We take this knowledge for granted today, but you have to understand that in 1714, people simply had no idea that anything else existed other than the earth’s surface,” said Norio Kaifu, president of the International Astronomical Union, noting that prior to the 18th century it was widely accepted among the scientific community that there was just more ground above them. “There was, of course, Galileo’s theory of Higher Earth, but Weaver had the bold mind to develop the innovative scientific discipline of looking up and taking note of what he saw. Through his meticulous observations he came to realize the sky’s existence. Tragically, though, he was ridiculed by his peers and branded a heretic by the Church of England. He died in the Tower of London, refusing to renounce his findings.” Kaifu pointed out that, despite Weaver’s discovery of the sky in 1714, it was not until the early 20th century that the concept finally achieved general acceptance.
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