an outstanding Polish astronomer, mathematician, doctor,
lawyer, interpreter of Italian poetry and an economist, was
of a bourgeois background. He was born in Torun, he studied
in Cracow, then in Bologne, Padua and Ferrara, where he
graduated with a PH.D in Canon Law. After his return to
Poland, Copernicus settled in the town of Lidzbark
Warminski as a doctor and a secretary of his uncle, Lukasz
Watzenrode, a Warmian bishop. In 1510 Copernicus became a
Warmian canon and settled in the town of Frombork, where he
conducted astronomical observations and was writing his main
work. During the war with the Order of Teutonic Knights,
Copernicus was engaged in defending the town of Olsztyn. In
the years 1517-1526 he published his works about monetary
reform, he formulated a law called Gresham-Copernicus Law,
which says that worse money drives away better money.
Copernicus was the first to draw up the heliocentric model
of the Solar System (the heliocentric theory). The model was
based on three assumptions: planets run on circular circuits
around the Sun, the Earth is one of the planets, and the
Earth revolves on its axis. The Heliocentric model of
Copernicus’ was printed in the work entitled De
revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the rotation of
celestial objects), in Nurnberg, a year after his death. His
theory became a basis of the development of Science in the
Renaissance period. Great supporters of the theory were
Johannes Kepler, Galileo. The ideas included in the theory
were later broadened in cosmology by Thomas Digges, in
England, and Giordano Bruno, in Italy.
19 February, 1473 –
Nicolas Copernicus is born.
1483 – his father dies;
Łukasz Watzenrode, Copernicus’ uncle, becomes guardian of
1491-1495 – Copernicus
studies at the University of Cracow.
1496 – he studies Law in
1501 – a short stay in
1501 – beginning of
medical studies, and continuation of Law studies, in Padua.
1503 – Copernicus becomes
Doctor of Canon Law at the University of Ferrara.
1504 – 1510 – he is a
doctor and secretary to his uncle, Łukasz Watzenrode, mainly
1509 – Copernicus
publishes his Latin translation of the Letters written by
1510 – he settles down in
Frombork as Warmian canon and presents an outline of the
heliocentric theory in the paper entitled “Commentariolus”.
1516 – 1519, and in 1521 –
Copernicus is promoted to Administrator of the Chapter in
1517 – he drafts a
1519 – his draft of a
currency reform is presented in the Sejmik (local
parliament) in Toruń.
1520 – 1521 – organisation
of defense of the castle in Olsztyn due to the war between
Poland the Order of Teutonic Knights.
1526 – Copernicus works
out a treatise “Monetae Cudenadae Ratio”.
1515 – 1533 – his major
work in astronomy is created, which states that the Earth
rotates daily on its axis and the planets circle the Sun.
1533- Pope Clemens VII
gets acquainted with Copernicus’ theory.
1536 – Copernicus receives
a letter from cardinal Nikolaus Schonberg.
1539 – Rheticus, a
professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University of
Wittenberg, comes to Frombork.
1540 – Rheticus publishes
a shortened copy of Copernicus’ research results, under the
title “Narratio Prima”.
1543 – full version of
Copernicus’ work “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” is
published in Nuremberg.
24 May, 1543 – Copernicus
1566 – second edition of
his work is published in Basle.
1617 – third edition of
his work is published in Amsterdam.
1854 – fourth edition is
published in Warsaw, both in Latin and in Polish.
One of the most impressive
craters on the visible side of the Moon, large crater on the
Mars, planetoid 1322 Copernicus, American satellite OAO-3
Copernicus (launched in 1972), Soviet – Polish satellite
Copernicus 500 (launched in 1973).