The Wisdom of Astro Cat


“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things that now lie hidden. A single life time, even though entirely devoted to research, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject. . . . And so this knowledge will be unfolded through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we  did not know things that are so plain to them. . . . Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced. Our universe is a sorry little affair unless it has in it something for every age to investigate . . . . Nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all.”

                            Seneca, Natural Questions Book 7, c. first century


“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

                                   Albert Einstein


                                   U Phat Khat


 From the chapter, “With Nico at Padua”

How Giancarlo, Astro Cat  (due to his playful nature) accidentally   inspires Copernicus to fully realize his new heliocentric theory. 

A young student called Nico was assigned to be the caretaker of Exterminator in Chief,  Giancarlo the Cat of the University of Padua. When Nico returned from a evening walk he found his precious model of the Solar System spilled on the floor in apparent disarray – until he took a closer look…(The Tales of Astro Cat © 2012)


Excerpt from “The Tales of Astro Cat” where Galileo’s assistant, Astro Cat, Bartelomo discovers the “Law of Feline Determinate Motion” (falling cats in other words!) “Tales of Astro Cat”, copyright 2012:

“”Miaow”, agreed the cat. He leapt to the top of the wall to get a better look. He watched each object grow smaller as it fell until it thudded to the earth. Then he looked up at the sky again. So beautiful it was. He twirled around to try to see the whole canopy of space. He felt suddenly heady, his wizard’s hat toppled from his head, and in a stab of fear realized he had lost his balance. He fell.

The tower, the town and the sky became a blur to him as he fell. The only thing he could think about was how small he was becoming in Galileo’s eyes. Suddenly his feet felt as if each of them had been bitten by a large cat with razor teeth, and he squalled in pain.

“Santa Maria!” shouted Galileo as he rushed down the stairs three and four at a time.

Galileo gathered him into his arms and began quickly toward home, murmuring comforting words to his furry companion. Bartolomeo’s only memory was the intense pain and throbbing in his feet and pads. He slipped out of consciousness.

When he awoke he saw the worried faces of his sister Bella and of Cosimo, his son. Galileo had bound up his four feet and he was laying on a cushion by the fire. Bella was attending him.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“No more journeys for me,” he said. “But I’ll survive.”

“Just let me know if there’s anything you need, dear Barti.”

In a few days the feeling came back in his paws and he was able to extract and detract his claws. He asked Bella to bring him a wax tablet. He scratched out a message for Galileo.

“Law of Feline Determinate Motion: Cats land on feet. Always. Flexible backbone? Humours balanced? Cat can right himself. Further study.”

Galileo was quite impressed with these ideas. “You are a feline genius!” he exclaimed. “You should develop this theory while you convalesce.”

Bella asked him one day what it felt like to fall from such a height. “What did you think about?”

“I thought about many things, even though it was only a few seconds,” he said. “I thought about the benefits of putting a chin strap on the Hat. I also thought of my mother’s telling of her Great Leap, when she escaped the Inquisition, and of how I probably should have paid better attention!”

Bartolomeo spent the remainder of his days not musing over the possibility that cats could fly, but studying and refining the Law of Feline Determinate Motion. His was the the foundational study on the eventual axiom of “Conservation of Angular Momentum in Falling Cats”, but the information to bring it to a conclusion was incomplete. It had to wait for the insights of Isaac Newton, and of one of his feline descendants.

Galileo published his work before his death, and Bartolomeo became a celebrated feline philosopher. Unfortunately, as we shall see, this groundbreaking work was lost in the fires of the Inquisition.” (The Tales of Astro Cat  © 2012)

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