Nicolaus Copernicus cover

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Nicolaus Copernicus

Renaissance-era mathematician, astronomer, and clergyman who formulated the heliocentric model of the Universe

1473   -   1543


country of citizenship: Kingdom of Poland
native language: Middle Low German
languages spoken, written or signed: Renaissance Latin, Middle Polish, Middle Low German, Greek
educated at: Jagiellonian University, University of Padua, University of Bologna, University of Ferrara
occupation: astronomer, jurist, economist, mathematician, legal scholar, physicist, philosopher, translator, physician, diplomat, writer
student of: Antonio Urceo, Albert Brudzewski, Domenico Maria Novara da Ferrara, Leonhard von Dobschütz
influenced by: Aristarchus of Samos, Martianus Capella, Domenico Maria Novara da Ferrara, Ptolemy, Aristotle, Muḥammad ibn Jābir al-Ḥarrānī al-Battānī, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi

Nicolaus Copernicus (; Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik; Middle Low German: Niclas Koppernigk, modern: Nikolaus Kopernikus; 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance polymath, active as a mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic canon, who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at its center. In all likelihood, Copernicus developed his model independently of Aristarchus of Samos, an ancient Greek astronomer who had formulated such a model some eighteen centuries earlier.The publication of Copernicus' model in his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), just before his death in 1543, was a major event in the history of science, triggering the Copernican Revolution and making a pioneering contribution to the Scientific Revolution.Copernicus was born and died in Royal Prussia, a region that had been part of the Kingdom of Poland since 1466. A polyglot and polymath, he obtained a doctorate in canon law and was a mathematician, astronomer, physician, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat, and economist. In 1517 he derived a quantity theory of money—a key concept in economics—and in 1519 he formulated an economic principle that later came to be called Gresham's law.
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