The Renaissance polymath, astronomer, and the creator of the heliocentric model of the universe is one of the people Poles take the most pride in. One of the greatest Poles Nicolaus Copernicus was born on February 19th, 1473 in Torun where he’s especially important to the residents.
Nicolaus Copernicus was born on 19th February 1473 in Toruń (a historical city on the Vistula River in north-central Poland).
Copernicus studied in Krakow, Italy and later in Frombork
Copernicus studied mathematics and natural sciences (the quadrivium) at the Academy of Krakow, in the heyday of the Krakow astronomical school, receiving training in mathematics, geometrical optics, cosmology, cosmography and astronomy in the construction and use of astronomical tables and the use of astronomical instruments.
On the initiative of his uncle, Watzenrode, he undertook the study of canon law at the University of Bologna, and then – after a few months stay in Warmia – medical studies in Padua combined with a doctorate in canon law at the University of Ferrara.
In Italy, he also deepened his studies of the Pythagorean tradition, identifying the centre of the cosmos with the ‘central fire’ or even with the Sun. Copernicus made most of his astronomical observations in Frombork, where he also died on 24 May 1543.
The heliocentric system allowed Copernicus to establish the order of the planets and the proportions of their orbits and made him aware of previous errors in estimating the size of the cosmos. In negating the basic principles of Claudius Ptolemy’s geocentric system, Copernicus constructed a system attributing the Earth to the status of a celestial body.
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
In 1543, Copernicus published his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), which was a groundbreaking contribution to the Scientific Revolution and kickstarted the Copernican Revolution. His death occurred shortly after the book was released.
The work was published in Warsaw in 1854 and included, in addition to the Latin text, the first Polish translation by the astronomer J. Baranowski. The autograph of the work is kept in the Jagiellonian Library in Krakow.