Nicolas Copernicus 1473-1543
Copernicus was born in Poland in 1473, he started his education at Cracow
University. There he studied mathematics and optics. From here he went to Italy,
where he was appointed as a canon in the cathedral of Frauenburg, where he spent
a comfortable academic life studding. Copernicus had some small hobbies while at
the cathedral, he painted, and frequently translated Greek poetry into Latin.

One other hobby that just wasn’t small enough to be called a hobby to most of us
was astronomy. He made investigations quietly and alone, without any help. He
observed from a turret on a protective wall around a cathedral, he also looked
with his naked eye rather than with a telescope. He was one of the founders of
modern astronomy. Copernicus died in 1543 of a cerebral hemorrhage. In 1530
right before Copernicus died he managed to published his work, De Revolutionibus.

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Which said that the earth rotated on its axis once daily and traveled around the
sun once yearly. This might no sound very controversial but at this time the
church and its followers believed in the Ptolemiac theory, which stated that the
universe was a closed space bounded by a spherical envelope beyond which there
was nothing. (Landry 1999) Copernicuss works went against the church, and
most scientific beliefs. This may be one reason why Copernicus didnt publish
his work until his deathbed. Another reason may be that Copernicus was a huge
perfectionist, and continuously redid his works over and over to get them right.

(Field 1995) So you can see why Copernicus wasnt in any big rush to have the
world know about his theory. On one hand he would cause a Nicolas Copernicus
tramoundous stir in the church, and all the scientific community. He wouldve
most likely have been fired from the comfortable church position he had for many
years, and couldve given him a bad name. If it hadnt been for George
Rheticus, a 25-year-old German mathematics professor Copernicuss might have
never publiched his work. (Field 1995) Rheticus stayed with Copernicus for two
years, and convinced him to release his work. “His work the Copernicus’s
heliostatic cosmology involved giving several distinct motions to the Earth. It
was consequently considered implausible by the vast majority of his
contemporaries, and by most astronomers and natural philosophers of succeeding
generations before the middle of the seventeenth century. Its only defenders
included Johannes Kepler (1571 -1630) and Galileo Galilei (1564- 1642). Strong
theoretical underpinning for the Copernican theory was provided by Newton’s
theory of universal gravitation (1687).” (Field 1995) So Copernicuss whole
argument stated that the planets and the Earth were in orbit around the sun, and
the moon was in orbit around the Earth. This is called the The Heliocentric
System: Nicolas Copernicus In conclusion Copernicus said that the Sun was the
center of the universe, and went against all known knowledge, religion, and
teachings. He took all his observations with the naked eye and with no help.

Many disregarded his book and his theory, which went against everything that the
church believed in. However if it wasnt for Copernicus, modern astronomy
would have never made advances as far as it has to today. Copernicuss hard
work and strength is why he is one of the most important founders of modern

Field, J. V. (1995 August). Home page. Online.

2000, Feb. 8. Astronomy 161 “The Solar System” . Online. University of

2000, Feb. 8. Landry, Peter (1999 June). Home page. Online. Dartmouth, Nova
Scotia. CANADA.

2000, Feb. 8.