Sunday, 28 December 2008

A joke or not a joke?

The equations of medieval cosmology
Roberto Buonanno and Claudia Quercellini from Universita di Roma Tor Vergata have published on arXiv a paper titled
The equations of medieval cosmology
The abstract claims:

In Dantean cosmography the Universe is described as a series of concentric spheres with all the known planets embedded in their rotation motion, the Earth located at the centre and Lucifer at the centre of the Earth. Beyond these "celestial spheres", Dante represents the "angelic choirs" as other nine spheres surrounding God. The rotation velocity increases with decreasing distance from God, that is with increasing Power (Virtu'). We show that, adding Power as an additional fourth dimension to space, the modern equations governing the expansion of a closed Universe (i. e. with the density parameter \Omega_0>1) in the space-time, can be applied to the medieval Universe as imaged by Dante in his Divine Comedy. In this representation the Cosmos acquires a unique description and Lucifer is not located at the centre of the hyperspheres.

Indeed, the paper combines the Dantean images with astrophysical equations.
To what end? Does it tell us anything about Dante? Or perhaps it tells us something about us, modern scientists? Don't we have more important subjects to study?

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