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Famous Poles 

Nicholas Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik)  ....

Astronomer, Doctor, Lawyer and Economist
1473 - Born in Torun, Poland
1483 - His father dies
1530 - Completed his theory book
1543 - Copernicus dies in Frombork
Nicholas Copernicus, proved that the sun was the center of the solar system and the sun, earth and the moon were all shaped like round balls.


Who was Nicholas Copernicus?
Polish Astronomer, Doctor, Lawyer and Economist

Mikolaj Kopernik, well known by his Latin name Nicholas Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland on February 19, 1473. His father Niklas Koppernigk, was a merchant and baker from Cracow, who migrated to Torun not later than 1458. He prospered there and was appointed magistrate for life. He married Barbara Watzenrode, daugther of a wealthy Torun merchant. 

His parents died when he was twelve, and he was entrusted to his uncle Lukas Watzenrode. 

Through his uncle, Lukas Watzenrode (1447-1512), who later became the bishop of Varmia (Ermland), was elected a canon of the cathedral chapter of Frombork (Frauenburg). In 1491-1495 his uncle enabled him to enter the University of Krakow. It was then famous for its mathematics, philosophy, and astronomy curriculum.

Copernicus attended St. John's School in Torun,  and studied canon law at the University of Krakow from 1491 to 1495. Than in 1496 Copernicus begins Law studies in the University of Bologna to study both canon and civil law. There, he lodged with and worked as an assistant to Domenico Maria the Ferrarese of Novara from 1454 to 1504, and professor of mathematics and astrology, also the official compiler of prognostications for the university. After briefly returning to Frombork, Copernicus studied medicine at the University of Padua from 1501 to 1503, where received a license to practice medicine. Then moved on to the University of Ferrara where he obtained a doctorate in Canon Law in year 1503. 

Later he returned to Varmia, where he stayed for the rest of his life.  

Having been elected a canon of Frauenberg Cathedral, he returned home, assisted his uncle until the uncle's death, and then opened a free clinic for the poor.
He acted as medical advisor and secretary to his uncle at Heilsberg, and was later heavily involved with the administrative tasks in the diocese of Frombork. in 1510-1512 Copernicus draws up a map of Warmia and the western borders of Royal Prussia for the Poznan convention of the King’s Council. Copernicus continues to hold both the office of Chancellor as well as Visitor in the Chapter House. 
In year 1511  he was appointed Chief Bursar in the Chapter.

In 1514, the Lateran Council sought Copernicus's opinion on calendar reform. 
In 1514-1516 Frombork Chapter relieves Copernicus of his administrative duties. 
Copernicus purchased a house convenient for his astronomical observations; he has an observation platform built in the back for his astronomical instruments.

During his study in astronomy, he made a major discovery that changed the way people were  thinking about the universe. He discovered the orbit of the sun and the nine planets. 

In 1530 Copernicus summed up all of his theories, ideas, and observations in his book De Revolutionibus orbium coelestium ("On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres"), which set forth his revolutionary theory that the earth revolved around the sun, instead of the sun revolving around the earth. 

Before this year, nearly everyone thought that the earth was flat, that wheels drove the sun, stars and the moon. People also thought that the earth was the center of all stars which were stuck in some giant awning that covered the earth. But astronomer, Nicholas Copernicus, proved that the sun was the center of the solar system and the sun, earth and the moon were all shaped like round balls.
This manuscript was printed and published in 1543, which was the year of Copernicus's death.

In 1543, Nicolas Copernicus suddenly became sick with a brain hemorrhage. He died on May 21st that year, and received a copy of his book on his deathbed.

The citizens of Torun are proud of their native son, Mikolaj Kopernik, and erected beautiful monument in front of city hall. His pictures are published on stamps, money, etc.


Old painting of astronomer from year 1894


Polish banknote 1000 zlotych 
printed in 1965 


Polish banknote 1000 zlotych printed in 1982 


500th Birth, on Dahomey stamp


Few German's FDC

Copernicus Copernicus


Nicolas Copernicus  was the first person in history to create a complete and general system, combining mathematics, physics, and cosmology.



Source: PI
Date: July 11, 2015 


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Famous Poles        — List of Poles

Poland                     — General Information about the country


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