Copernicus, Nicolas (14731543)

Copernicus, Nicolas, founder of modern astronomy, born at Thorn, in Poland, and educated at Cracow and Bologna; became canon of Frauenburg, on the Frisches Haff; studied medicine; was doctor to a wealthy uncle, with whom he lived, and became his heir when he died; his chief interest lay in the heavenly bodies, and his demonstrations regarding their movements, which yet he deferred publishing till he was near his end; and indeed it was only when he was unconscious and dying that the first printed copy of the work was put into his hands; it was entitled “De Orbium Revolutionibus,” and was written in proof of the great first principle of astronomy, that the sun is the centre of the solar system, and that the earth and planets circle round it; the work was dedicated to Pope Paul III., and was received with favour by the Catholic Church, though, strange to say, it was denounced by Luther and Melanchthon as contrary to the Scriptures of truth (14731543).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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