Nicolaus Copernicus
1473 - 1543
Polish Astronomer
Copernicus is regarded the founder of modern astronomy.

He was born in Torunac, Poland. He studied mathematics and optics at Cracow, then canon law at Bologna, before becoming canon of Frombork. Copernicus discovered the mathematically yet unproven heliocentric solar system.

In his treatise, 'On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres' he postulated that the planets, including the earth, revolve around the sun, and that the earth revolved around its axis once every day.

The work had a hostile reception when it was published (1543), as it challenged the ancient teaching of the Earth as the centre of the universe.
In the 1600' Galileo and Kepler began to develop the physics that would prove Copernicus right.

Image : The Heliocentric System

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Biography

The Nature of the Universe
from Thales to Newton and Einstein

From the University of St. Andrews, Scotland
School of Mathematics
Biography