Nicolaus Copernicus


Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus


Nikolai Kopernik was born on February 19, 1473, in the city of Torun in Poland. He later changed his name to Nicolaus Copernicus. When his father died between 1483 and 1485, Copernicus's uncle, who was a priest, took him in. In 1491, Copernicus began to study at the Krakow Academy, which was famous for mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. There he discovered astronomy. It fascinated him. After four years at the Krakow Academy, Copernicus went to study medicine and law. His uncle payed for his education and wanted Copernicus to become a priest like himself. However, Copernicus could not be stopped.
While studying, he met Domenico Maria Novara de Ferrara, who was a famous astronomer. He became Novara's assistant and student. Copernicus made his first astrological observations with Novara in 1497. Copernicus later went on to Rome. There he observed a lunar eclipse and gave lectures in mathematics and astronomy. He became a priest for a while, but he used his money to pay for school so that he could study canon law and medicine. One of the classes that he took was astronomy. However, astronomy was not much more than a hobby. But in 1504, Copernicus began to collect ideas and observations that would lead to his theory. Also in 1504, Copernicus hand-wrote a six page report on his theory of heliocentrism. He made this available only to friends, and then went off to search for further details. Let's skip ahead to 1514. During this year, the Pope asked Copernicus to come up with a better version of the calender. Copernicus needed to do more research, and this research led him to begin further investigations for his theory. He made this available only to friends, and then went off to search for further details. In 1536, a few years after Copernicus's theory was heard by several people of the catholic church in Rome, the Archbishop of Capua Nicholas Schonber recommended that Copernicus allow the theory to be heard by scholars.
Although resistant for a while, in 1539, Copernicus finally agreed to have a summary of his book, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, meaning Concerning the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs, published under a different name. However, in 1543, he did finally allow his book stating the theory of heliocentrism to be published. This was made possible in part by the invention of the printing press. Copernicus passed away on May 24, 1543, back in Poland. Legend states that Copericus woke up from a coma and the first printed copy of his book was placed in his hands. He looked at it and then died.
Nicolaus Copernicus was one of the polymaths of the Renaissance. However, he is best known for his astronomic discovery, even though for some time astronomy was not much more than a hobby for him. Even though the church didn't agree with Copernicus, he went on and did what he had to do to make his theory known. He only made 27 observations over 32 years, but by studying other astronomers’ works, he developed a theory that changed modern science forever. If it hadn't been for Nicolaus Copernicus, the theory of heliocentrism might be hidden in outer space, never to be found.

To find out more about Copernicus, go to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernicus
http://www.phy.hr/~dpaar/fizicari/xcopern.html
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/copernicus/

Works Cited:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernicus
Renaissance Encyclopedia volumes 1 and 3
Astronomy Eyewitness by Kristen Lippincott
2007 Worldbook Encyclopedia Volume 4
Astronomy: Looking at the Stars by Susan and Steven Wills
http://www.scienceclarified.com/dispute/images/sind_01_img0039.jpg
http://potoczek.pl/media/The$20Jagiellonian$20University$20Krakow.jpg
http://www.sciencemouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/371px-copernican_heliocentrism-300x274.jpg




The University of Krakow, where Copernicus first discovered astronomy
The University of Krakow, where Copernicus first discovered astronomy
A diagram showing heliocentrism
A diagram showing heliocentrism