Biography of Nicolas Copernicus

Nicholas Copernicus (Torun, Poland, 19 February 1473 – Frauenburg, Poland, 24 May 1543). Scientist and Astronomer, recognized as the first astronomer to conceive the Sun as the center of the universe, around which all the planets rotated.

He was the inspiration for other great geniuses

His theories were banned by the Church and forgotten for more than three centuries, but once published, they served as the basis for other great scientists such as Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, René Descartes and Isaac Newton, thus becoming one of the most scientific scientists influential history.

Early years

Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland, on 19 February 1743, the youngest of four children of Nicholas Copernicus (father) and Barbara Watzenrode, a couple of wealthy merchants. When he turned 10, in 1753, his father passed away. Copernicus was then placed under the care of his maternal uncle Lucas Warzenrode, a priest, who cared for his education, believing that the Church would be the best option for his nephew.

University Education

In 1491, Copernicus began his studies in Painting and Mathematics at the University of Krakow. It was there, where he began his interest in astronomy. In 1494, after graduating, he returned to his hometown, where he took over as canon at Frombork Cathedral, which greatly favored him, allowing him enough time and money to finance his studies.

In 1496, he obtained two years of leave, which he took advantage of to travel to Italy, in order to study Canon Law at the University of Bologna. There he met Doménico María de Novara, professor of Mathematics, with whom he shared housing and his interest in astronomy, and who showed him for the first time the possibility of challenging established canons.

In 1500, he moved to the University of Padua, to study medicine, although he did not obtain a degree. In 1503, he returned to Poland, where he resumed his post at the Cathedral, as well as dedicating himself to assisthising his uncle Bishop of Ermland, Lucas Warzenrode, whom he cared for until his death in 1510. Copernicus then moved to a residence in Frombork Cathedral, where he devoted himself to the study of astronomy and his work as a canon for the rest of his life.

Heliocentric system

Among the many books he consulted during his seven years in Poland was a copy of Almagesto’s Epitome, which posed a model of the alternative universe to that conceived by Ptolemy de Regiomontus, which astronomy and the Catholic Church took as Right. In 1508, according to some historians, Copernicus was already working on his own model, in which he posed – distancing himself from Aristotle – to the Sun (and not to earth) as the center of the universe.

In 1513, he built an observatory, which allowed him to record the behavior of the stars, concluding that they trace a circular orbit around the Sun, an observation that was modified by Kepler when, in the 17th century, he managed to demonstrate that it was actually move in elliptical orbits.

Around 1514, Copernicus finished writing his first work entitled Commentariolus (Small Commentary) which in its 40 pages posed its universe model, based on a heliocentric conception.

It also promulgated seven theories about the behavior of the planets:

  1. His movements are circular, eternal and uniform.
  2. Earth was not the center of the universe, but the center of lunar orbit.
  3.  The center of the universe is near the sun.
  4. The distance between Earth and the Sun is a minimum fraction of the total distance between the stars and the solar star.
  5. Stars do not move, but it is the Earth that does it, producing in us the feeling that they move in the sky.
  6. The Earth moves around the sun in a circular way, taking a year to do so.
  7. The orbit that the Earth draws around the Sun causes the other planets to have orbits in the opposite direction to our Planet.

His theories caused little acceptance among astronomers, who noted that their arguments could not explain why the planets revolved around the Sun.

As for the Church they were considered heretical. Copernicus was not the first to propose the Sun as the center of the universe, as early as 270 BC, Aristarco de Samos had formulated a similar model. However, when Copernicus formulated his theory, the Church had decided to defend and support that of Ptolymy, which signified the Earth as the center of the Universe.

Late years

In 1530, she finished her work Revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) where she would propose that the earth revolves on itself. His research would finally be published in 1543, shortly before he died of a vascular brain accident on 24 May of that year, in Frauenburg. The Church forbade its reading for three centuries.

In the 17th century, Kepler began his study, broadening his theories, as well as more accurate results, demonstrating to the world the great value of a scientist who faced only the beliefs of his time, to defend his convictions and the findings that had performed.

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Biography of Nicolas Copernicus
Source: curiosities  
July 28, 2019

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