By: Anna Praiswater, Kylie Sobol
Nicholas Coprecunis was born on February 19, 1473 in Thorn (modern day Torun) in Poland. He grew up with his family until attending Krakow Academy in 1491. But, in 1496 he went to Italy to study law. While being a student, Nicholas studied with a mathematics professor, Domenico Maria de Novara. Novara encouraged Coprenicus' interests in geography and astronomy. He then returned to Poland in 1503.
In 1514, when the Catholic church was seeking to improve the calendar, one of the experts to whom the pope appealed was Copernicus. Copernicus' major work 'De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium' ('On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres') was finished by 1530. Its central theory was that the Earth rotates daily on its axis and revolves yearly around the sun. He also argued that the planets circled the Sun. Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus identified the concept of a heliocentric solar system, in which the sun, rather than the earth, is the center of the solar system. Subsequently, Copernicus believed that the size of each planet's orbit depended on its distance from the sun.
Things to Remember
In May of 1543, mathematician and scholar Georg Joachim Rheticus presented Copernicus with a copy of a newly published De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Suffering the aftermath of a recent stroke, Copernicus is said to have been clutching the book when he died in his bed on May 24, 1543 in Frauenburg, Poland.
-In the 17th century, Kepler worked on expanding upon and correcting the errors of Copernicus's heliocentric theory, Copernicus became a symbol of the brave scientist standing alone, defending his theories against the common beliefs of his time.
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