Science: Oh, Mr. Copernicus!

Oceans apart (one man was in Berlin, the other in Buenos Aires), two amateur astronomers last week had independently decided that Copernicus had everything inside out and backwards. The earth, Germany's Valentin Herz explained, does not revolve from west to east; it spins in the opposite direction. Argentina's Antonio Duran Navarro had an even more novel idea. Says Navarro: "The universe, 8,000 miles in diameter, is contained within the earth."

The two astronomers did not know each other, and had taken years to work out their respective theories. But both had arrived at their conclusions by the same method—while lying on their...

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