Biographies

Nicholas Copernicus and heliocentric theory

Nicholas Copernicus and heliocentric theory

Nicolaus Copernicus is considered the founder of modern astronomy, fundamental in the Scientific Revolution of the Renaissance.

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543), a Polish astronomer, is known for his Heliocentric theory that had already been described by Aristarchus of Samos, according to which the Sun was at the center of the Universe and the Earth, which rotated once a day on its axis, completed a round around it every year.

Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473 in the city of Thorn (today Toru), in a family of merchants and municipal officials. Copernicus's maternal uncle, Bishop Ukasz Watzenrode, made sure that his nephew received a solid education in the best universities.

Nicholas entered the University of Krakow in 1491, where he began studying the humanities career; A short time later he moved to Italy to study law and medicine. In January 1497, Copernicus began studying canon law at the University of Bologna.

In 1500, Copernicus received a doctorate in astronomy in Rome. The following year he obtained permission to study medicine at Padua (the university where he taught Galileo, almost a century later). Although his graduation as a doctor was never documented, he practiced the profession for six years at Heilsberg.

From 1504 he was canon of the diocese of Frauenburg. During these years he published the Greek translation of the Theophylactus letters (1509), studied finance and in 1522 wrote a memorandum on monetary reforms.

His astronomical observation works mostly practiced as an assistant in Bologna by Professor Domenico María de Novara show his great capacity for observation.

He was a great scholar of classical authors and also confessed as a great admirer of Ptolemy whose Almagesto studied thoroughly. After many years he finished his great work on heliocentric theory where he explains that it is not the Sun that revolves around the Earth but on the contrary.

This theory however also required complicated mechanisms for the explanation of the movements of the planets, due to the perfection of the sphere. Stimulated by some friends, Copernicus then publishes a manuscript summary. In his comments he establishes his theory in 6 axioms, reserving the mathematical part for the main work, which would be published under the title "On the revolutions of the celestial spheres".

From here the heliocentric theory began to expand. His detractors also quickly emerged, the first being Protestant theologians adducing biblical causes. In 1616 The Catholic Church placed Copernicus' work on its list of prohibited books.

Copernicus' work served as the basis for, later, Galileo, Brahe and Kepler to lay the foundations of modern astronomy.

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