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Nicolaus Copernicus Quotes


Nicolaus Copernicus Although Nicolaus Copernicus was not the first astronomer who proposed the heliocentric model whereby the planets of our solar system revolved around the sun he was the first to articulate his theory with accurate formulae for calculating planetary positions. Nicolaus was only 10 years old when his copper merchant father passed away and he was raised by his uncle Lucas Watzenrode who was the Bishop of Varmia, this gave Nicolaus the opportunity to join the church which helped fund his yearning for study. Copernicus was an inquisitive student who immersed himself in mathematical theory and the philosophical teachings of Aristotle during his education at the University of Kraków, he had a fascination for astronomy and the combination of all three was to cement his position as a chief instigator of the scientific revolution. As early as 1510 Copernicus was working on his heliocentric model of the universe and he completed his work on the subject by 1532. However he refused to publish his work for fear of ridicule from a world that had believed for centuries that the earth was the centre of the universe and everything revolved around it. He eventually published his book De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium as he approached his death in 1543. Initially it sold only 400 copies but the copies it did sell to were believers in his hypothesis and it was enough to gain some traction with astronomers who understood these things. However the church deemed it heretical and banned the book leading to a century and a half of struggle for astronomers until his works were proven as established facts by other scientists. Indeed Galileo Galilei was much the same as nearly a century later he too hesitated to publish his works and was quoted as saying: "I have not dared until now to bring them into the open, being warned by the fortunes of Copernicus himself, our master, who procured for himself immortal fame among a few but stepped down among the great crowd (for this is how foolish people are to be numbered), only to be derided and dishonoured. I would dare publish my thoughts if there were many like you; but since there are not, I shall forbear". The Copernican Model just would not go away meaning that the name Nicolaus Copernicus will forever be remembered as the oft described launching pad of modern astronomy. You don't become a ground breaking astronomer without coming out with a good line or two, so here is my compilation of 12 of the best Nicolaus Copernicus quotes.
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Nicolaus Copernicus
  • Born: 19th February 1473, Toruń, Prussia (Now Poland)
  • Died: 24th May 1543, Frombork, Prussia (Now Poland)
  • Alma mater: University of Kraków (1491–4), University of Bologna (1496–1500) and University of Padua (1501–3)
  • Occupation: Canon, astronomer and mathematician
  • Movies: Copernicus (1973) a short biography celebrating the 500th anniversary of his birth
  • Controversy: His book De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) was condemned and banned by the Roman Catholic church whereby it was listed on their Index of Prohibited Books until its removal from the index in 1835
  • Influenced: Nicolaus Copernicus was known to have influenced Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler to name but a few
  • Trivia: 90 years after the death of the great man Galileo Galilei was prosecuted for heresy in 1633 for following the teachings of Nicolaus Copernicus

"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"Thus indeed, as though seated on a royal throne, the sun governs the family of planets revolving around it"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the centre of the universe"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"The universe has been wrought for us by a supremely good and orderly creator"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"Every light has its shadow, and every shadow hath a succeeding morning"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"Mathematics is written for mathematicians"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"The massive bulk of the earth does indeed shrink to insignificance in comparison with the size of the heavens"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"The universe is spherical"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"What indeed is more beautiful than heaven, which of course contains all things of beauty"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"I am not so enamoured of my own opinions that I disregard what others may think of them"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"It is the duty of an astronomer to compose the history of the celestial motions through careful and expert study"

Nicolaus Copernicus

"We regard it as a certainty that the earth, enclosed between poles, is bounded by a spherical surface"

Nicolaus Copernicus





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