Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus was the man who invented the theory known as heliocentricity. Helio meaning ‘sun’ and centric meaning ‘center.’ He was a genius and was able to prove his theories in his book.

Copernicus was born in 1473 in Royal Prussia, an area in Poland. His father was a wool merchant but he died while his little son was very young, so Copernicus was brought up by his uncle. His uncle sent him to university, where he learned many trades and was good at each of them.

Ptolemy was an ancient astronomer, mathematician and scientist. He invented the geocentric theory of the universe. (Geo meaning ‘earth.’) Copernicus combatted this theory with his own.

Copernicus wrote a book called The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres in which he explained and proved his theory. He waited until the last moment to publish it, probably out of fear of ridicule. It was published and handed to him on the day he died at the age of seventy.

His book was an object of great controversy, to put it mildly. The Church wanted to ‘throw it out the window,’ so to speak. Some were punished for believing in it. Galileo, for example, was put under house arrest.

Copernicus was a genius. He earned his fame for if it were not for him, we would still believe in the outdated theory of Ptolemy.




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