Life Of Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik)

Nicolaus Copernicus’s a very famous astronomer’s name in Latin which he chose, later in his life. His real name is Mikolaj Kopernik. But we are still going to use the name Nicolaus. Nicolaus was only ten years old when his father (also called Nicolaus) died. His uncle Lucas Watzenrode became guardian to Nicolaus and Barbara Koppernigk's (Nicolaus’ mother) four children.  Nicolaus and Andreas (Nicolaus’ brother) remained in Torun and finished their elementary school education.  His uncle Mr Watzenrode, decided to send Nicolaus into the cathedral school of Wloclawek, where he received “a good standard humanist education”

After studying three years at Wloclawek he joined the University of Krakow, (Poland’s capital at that time). Andreas joined the University of Krakow at the same time as Nicolaus. According to Copernicus, the study at Krakow was a vital factor in everything that he decided to achieve. He learnt and studied Latin, mathematics, astronomy, geography and philosophy. He learnt astronomy from a book called Tractatus de Sphaera by Johannes de Sacrobosco written in 1220. Copernicus studied mathematical courses which introduced Aristotle and Ptolemy’s view of the universe, so people could clearly understand the calendar, calculate dates of holy days and ofcourse Astrology which we use today to see people’s horoscopes from their date of birth. Nicolaus was just a student at the university when he purchased a copy of the Latin Translation of Euclids’ Elements and therefore started using the Latin version of his name.


 “Nicolaus Copernicus’ contribution to the astronomical history was large and it was a huge impact as well. He changed the way of thinking, not only astronomically but also religiously. This was because the Catholic teachings were based on the theory that the universe was Earth centred.

Copernicus disagreed with Aristotle’s and Ptolemy’s theory about the Earth being in the centre of the universe. The Earth isn’t even in the centre of the solar system. This theory was being used since 150 A.D. so Copernicus’ theory made a huge impact. At this time the Earth-centred model was in a lot of trouble because “The calendar was out of step; the lunar orbit had the moon’s apparent size changing when it did not. Ptolemy’s Earth centred Universe was not into place. This is why Copernicus tried to prove how the Universe really orbited”. Although Copernicus’ theory went up some obstacles a large number of people were still having problems; some of thought if the Earth was spinning and they jumped they would be left behind. He proposed that the sun has a fixed position, and the Earth not only orbits the sun but also turns once daily on its own axis.


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