Biography Of Copernicus

Biography Of Copernicus


Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) – Polish / Prussian astronomer and mathematician. Copernicus designed a model that placed the sun in the center of the universe (heliocentrism), challenging the then-prevailing orthodoxy which held the earth at its center.

His major work De révolutionibus orbium colostrum (1543), (On the Revolutions in the Celestial Spheres), was published shortly before his death. It marked an important scientific milestone – it was a crucial moment in the scientific revolution that occurred during the Renaissance period.

Copernicus was not only a pioneering astronomer but also excelled in many other fields, including being a physician, economist, and diplomat. He also earned a doctorate in canon law.


Copernicus Early Life

Copernicus was born in Thorn, the capital of the province of Royal Prussia. He is now the Kingdom of Poland’s 19th February 1473. Copernicus would have likely considered himself to be Prussian. His father, a merchant, and politician, was active in Poland’s fight against the Teutonic Order. He also played a key role in the peace negotiations between the two factions. His mother was also wealthy and influential, making Copernicus very well-connected throughout his entire life.

Copernicus received a complete education from his maternal uncle after the death of his father. Copernicus was a prolific speaker of many languages, including Latin, German and Polish as well as Greek, Polish, Polish, Greek, and Italian. The University of Krakow and the Cathedral School at Wloclawek were his educational institutions. Copernicus studied mathematics, astronomy, natural sciences, and philosophy.

Copernicus supplemented his studies by reading his private works, including Euclid and Pythagoras’ works, Plutarch, and other works on astronomy.

Copernicus went to Bologne Italy in 1496 to study Canon Law, with the intention of a future career as a priest. He was temporarily elevated to the Warmia Canonry after completing his studies. He was not fully ordained as a priest, and he turned his back on Canon law. He preferred the humanities which were more interesting to him.

Copernicus began to make more astronomical observations such as the 1500-year-old lunar eclipse. Through his close study and astronomical observations, he developed a new view of the Universe that was different from the one most people had at the time.

He also studied physics and became a practicing physicist, performing operations on many important people throughout his lifetime.

Copernicus was sent to Poland in 1503, where he worked as his uncle’s secretary. He also participated in diplomatic negotiations regarding the tensions between Prussian and the Teutonic Order.

Biography Of Copernicus


Biography Of Copernicus


Religious beliefs

Copernicus supported the humanist movement. It sought to promote a more liberal approach to in life, literature, and science. Copernicus printed translations from Greek literature to show his support for a more liberal approach toward non-Christian literature.

He believed his scientific reading and scientific studies were compatible with being a Catholic Christian. However, he never expressed any interest in the new Protestant Reformation Movement. Copernicus believed that the best attitude was to use God-given reason, and the scientific method, and not rely solely on the scriptures. In his preface to De revolutionibus, he writes:

“If perchance there are foolish speakers who, along with those ignorant in all mathematics, will decide concerning these matters, and because someplace within the Scriptures has been wickedly distorted, should dare to attack this my work, they have no importance to me. To such an extent do their judgments seem rash to me.

A heliocentric view of  the Universe

Copernicus, following the death of his uncle, moved to Frombrook in the Kingdom of Poland. There he continued to make astronomical observations. He observed the movements of the stars and Mars with an unusual instrument and telescope. These observations helped Copernicus to continue developing his heliocentric view. Although he shared his radical ideas in private letters, he was reluctant to publish them because he feared being ridiculed for his new revolutionary theories.

Copernicus completed his great work De revolutionibus coelestium in 1532. These were the major points of his work:

“The sun is not wrongly called the lantern of the universe by some, its mind by another, and its ruler yet by others. It is a visible god according to the Thrice Greatest, while Sophocles’ Electra calls it the all-seeing. The sun rules the planets that revolve around it, just as if it were sitting on a royal throne.

1. There is no single center for all celestial circles and spheres. The center of the earth is not the center of the universe. It is only the center of gravity and the lunar sphere.
3. The sun is the center of all the spheres, which means that they revolve around it.

Despite some interest from friends, and even the Vatican Pope and Catholic cardinals, he was reluctant to publish.

He was encouraged by his friends, students, and other elements of the Church to publish in 1543, the year he was dead. He died in 1543 on the 24th of May. One story claims that he was able to see his entire life’s work after waking up from a coma. Then he passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Biography Of Copernicus



Copernicus was a pioneering economist among his many accomplishments. Copernicus developed a theory about the value of money, later known as Gresham’s Law. This is the belief that debased (or bad) money drives out good money. He created the first attempt to develop a quantity theory for money in 1517. Inflation was a function of the money available. This became an important part of economic theory. This was crucial for the period when governments were struggling with currency devaluation. His economic writings were influential in Germany (Teutonic States) and Prussia.


Influence of Copernicus’ work

Only a few astronomers and intellectuals have accepted Copernicus’s heliocentric view for sixty years. His thesis was published without much controversy, and there was no criticism from the church.

Leading figures of the Protestant Reformation such as John Calvin and Martin Luther raised theological objections. The Protestant Reformation affirmed biblical scripture as the final authority and rejected Copernicism because of the apparent conflict with Biblical sources.

However, the Catholic church was raising more objections by 1616. Francesco Ingoli, a member of the Inquisition wrote that Copernicanism was theologically false.

Galileo’s (1564-1642), work in astronomy led him to conclude that Copernicus was correct. Galileo, with the help of better telescopes, discovered moons orbiting Jupiter. This was an argument for Copernicus’ view. Galileo’s views on heliocentrism were met with considerable resistance from the Catholic Church. He was convicted of heresy because heliocentrism was against the authority and sense the of Holy Scripture. Galileo was put under house arrest for many decades. Galileo was a crucial role in heliocentrism being accepted as scientific fact.

The Catholic Church banned Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning Two Chief World Systems and Copernicus De revolutionibus until 1835.

Copernican Revolution
The Copernican Revolution refers to the period between 1543 and the time of Isaac Newton’s works on gravity.


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