Astronomy/Nicholas Copernicus term paper 7022

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Nicholas Copernicus

Nicholas Copernicus is often considered one of the founders of modern astronomy. His discovery's led him to the conclusion that the Earth rotates on its axis and that it, like all the other planets, revolves around the sun. His discovery's influenced those scientists and astrologers thatcame after him, such as Galileo, Newton and Kepler.

Nicholas Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473, in Thorn, Poland. His maternal uncle raised him after his father's death. This enabled him to attend the university of Krakow where he studied Mathematics and Optics. He later attended the university at Bologna where he studied liberal arts and, the university at Padua where he studied medicine, and at the university at Ferrari where he studied canon law. Through his uncles reputation and influence he was elected a canon at the cathedral in Frauenberg, Poland, where he continued his studies of the stars and the heavens quietly, on his own time.

Nicholas's Most famed work, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium ( On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres ) opposed the beliefs of the catholic church and completely countered the Ptolemaic theory and the works of Aristotle, the beliefs that the Earth was the center of the Universe and that everything revolved around it. The latter required a complex combination of cycles upon cycles, akin to the meshing of larger and smaller gears ( think of the interior of a watch ), to account for these motions. Copernicus's theory proposed that a rotating Earth, along with the other planets, around a stationary Sun accounted for these phenomena, but in a simpler way. De revolutionibus orbium coelestium is based on varius aspects by the Pythagoreans and the Aristarchus of Samos, and also by the Muslim astronomer Ibn al-Shatir. It includes both radical and conservative elements, such as the fact that he held every part of the Aristotelian physics of motion. It also clung to many of the Ptolemaic ( the one with the gears and cycles ) theories and laws. His theory implied that the Universe was enormous in size, but not infinite.

Nicholas Copernicus's contributions to the world of science literally brought the world out of the mediaeval way's of thinking and was one of the jump starts towards the new ways of thinking. His work was the bases and the arguments of many other great scientists such as Kepler, who determined the ellipticity of planetary orbits, Galileo, who formulated his new concept of motion using Copernicus's theory's and Isaac Newton, who based his Universal law of gravity on much of Copernicus's work.

In conclusion, Copernicus's work did many things to revolutionize the way man thinks ( scientifically ) by "opening the flood gates" and giving other scientists laws and theorem to base there discovery's on. Unfortunately, Copernicus never got to see his work published, as the church only allowed it to go public in 1543, the year he died,


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