Nicolaus Copernicus: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Nicolaus Copernicus.

  • Nicolaus Copernicus was a mathematician and astronomer who was born in Torun, Poland in 1473. His ideas led to the Copernicus Revolution, a new way of seeing the universe.
  • He believed the sun and not the earth was at the centre of the universe. This idea, controversial at the time, had first been suggested by others as early as the 3rd century BC.

  • In 1494, Nicolaus Copernicus became canon at Frombork Cathedral, where he worked most of his life.
  • In 1513 he built his own observatory so that he could see the planets and stars as often as possible.In 1496 he travelled to Italy to study law at several different universities. While in Bologna, he met a mathematics professor, Domenico Maria de Novara who encouraged his interest in astronomy.
  • As well as being an astronomer and scientist, Copernicus was a doctor, governor and economist. He was also able to speak and translate several languages, including German, Greek and Italian.
  • In 1514, Copernicus published a 40 page book listing his astronomical theories. These included the beliefs that the stars don’t move, and the earth’s movement around the sun causes the different seasons.
  • He was also a soldier for a time, leading the Polish defence during the Polish-Teutonic war of 1519 to 1521. In later life, he studied to be a doctor and treated various diseases.

Nicolaus Copernicus

  • Copernicus never married nor had any children. He was said to be so committed to his work that he thought being married might be a distraction.
  • Nicolaus Copernicus died of internal bleeding in May, 1543. For centuries, nobody knew where he was buried until his remains were discovered in Frombork Cathedral, Poland, in 2010.
  • Some of the earliest notes written by Nicolaus Copernicus are on display in Uppsala University, in Sweden. The house where he was born is now a small museum.
  • In the Back to the Future movies Doc’s dog in 1955 was named Copernicus.

What next? Discover facts about other famous mathematicians.

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