Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians believed the Earth was a flat disk, floating in an ocean. Greek poet Homer supported a similar idea, as did ancient Norse, Germanic and Chinese cultures.
Gradually the concept of a spherical Earth spread. Pythagoras was an early adopter and helped advance this in Greece. And by the 17th century, Isaac Newton more accurately described the Earth as an ellipsoid with a very slight bulge at the equator.
Curiously, a similar shift in ideology concerning the universe’s shape may be occurring. A new study from the University of Manchester, University of Rome and Paris Institute of Astrophysics argues our Universe is actually a closed, inflating sphere that is curved. This is controversial… because the widely accepted inflation theory naturally predicts a flat universe.
“Planck evidence for a closed Universe and a possible crisis for cosmology,” Valentino, Melchiorri, Silk (2019):
Quanta Magazine article, N. Wolchover:
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