Marquis de Laplace


Contemplated as one grand whole, astronomy is the most beautiful monument of the human mind; the noblest record of its intelligence. Seduced by the illusions of the senses, and of self-love, man considered himself, for a long time, as the centre of the motion of the celestial bodies, and his pride was justly punished by the vain terrors they inspired. The labour of many ages has at length withdrawn the veil which covered the system. Man appears, upon a small planet, almost imperceptible in the vast extent of the solar system, itself only an insensible point in the immensity of space. The sublime results to which this discovery has led may console him for the limited place assigned him in the universe.

 Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace, System of the World, Part 1, Chapter 6 (1796)