Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus (/kˈpɜːrnɪkəs, kə-/;[2][3][4] Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik;[lower-alpha 2] German: Niclas Koppernigk, modern: Nikolaus Kopernikus; 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance polymath, active as a mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic canon, who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at its center. In all likelihood, Copernicus developed his model independently of Aristarchus of Samos, an ancient Greek astronomer who had formulated such a model some eighteen centuries earlier.[5][lower-alpha 3][lower-alpha 4][lower-alpha 5]

Nicolaus Copernicus
The "Toruń portrait" (anonymous, c. 1580), kept in Toruń town hall, Poland[lower-alpha 1]
Born19 February 1473
Died24 May 1543(1543-05-24) (aged 70)
Known forHeliocentrism
Quantity theory of money
Gresham–Copernicus law
Scientific career
  • Astronomy
  • Canon law
  • Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine
  • Politics
Academic advisorsDomenico Maria Novara da Ferrara
InfluencesAristarchus of Samos
Martianus Capella
InfluencedJohannes Kepler

The publication of Copernicus' model in his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), just before his death in 1543, was a major event in the history of science, triggering the Copernican Revolution and making a pioneering contribution to the Scientific Revolution.[7]

Copernicus was born and died in Royal Prussia, a region that had been part of the Kingdom of Poland since 1466. A polyglot and polymath, he obtained a doctorate in canon law and was a mathematician, astronomer, physician, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat, and economist. In 1517 he derived a quantity theory of money—a key concept in economics—and in 1519 he formulated an economic principle that later came to be called Gresham's law.[lower-alpha 6]