Nicolaus Copernicus: Making the Earth a Planet
Born in Poland in 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus launched a quiet revolution. No scientist so radically transformed our understanding of our place in the universe as this curious bishop's doctor and church official. In his quest to discover a beautiful and coherent system to describe the motions of the planets, Copernicus placed the sun in the center of the system and made the earth a planet traveling around the sun. Today it is hard to imagine our solar system any other way, but for his time Copernicus's idea was earthshaking. In 1616 the church banned his book Revolutions because it contradicted the accepted notion that God placed Earth in the center of the universe. Even though those who knew of his work considered his idea dangerous, Revolutions remained of interest only to other scientists for many years. It took almost two hundred years for his concept of a sun-centered system to reach the general public. None the less, what Copernicus set out in his remarkable text truly revolutionized science. For this, Copernicus, a quiet doctor who made a tremendous leap of imagination, is considered the father of the Scientific Revolution.
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Chapter 1 Expanding the World
Chapter 2 School Days in Poland
Chapter 3 At the University in Cracow
Chapter 4 A Scholar in Italy
Chapter 5 The Breakthrough
Chapter 6 An EarthShaking Development
Chapter 7 The Busy Canon
Alfonsine Tables Almagest ancient Andreas Arabic Aristotle Aristotle’s armillary sphere arrangement Baltic bishop of Varmia Bologna calculations canon law Cathedral Chapter Catholic celestial church circle Copernican Copernicus continued Copernicus wrote Copernicus’s copies Dantiscus deferent diagram distance earth a planet earth-radii earth’s motion ecliptic epicycle epicyclet Epitome equant equinox Europe Frombork Galileo geometry Georg Joachim Rheticus Giese Greek heavens heliocentric system hundred Ibn al-Shatir idea instrument Italy Jagiellonian University Johannes Jupiter Kepler Latin letter Library Lidzbark Little Commentary Lucas Watzenrode Lutheran Mars Mars’s mathematical moon moon’s Nicolaus Copernicus Nuremberg observations offset orbit Olsztyn Owen Gingerich parallax Peurbach’s planetary Polish pope positions printed Prussia Ptolemy Ptolemy’s Ptolemy’s Almagest Ptolemy’s equant Reformation Regiomontanus retrograde motion Revolutions Rheticus Rome Saturn scholars shells shows sight line starry stars student studies sun-centered sun’s Teutonic Knights text continued theory Tiedemann Giese Torun Tycho University in Cracow Varmia Venus Vistula River