High School Math

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Copernicus


Nicolas Copernicus is the founder of modern astronomy. He was born in Poland, and went to Cracow University to study mathematics and optics. Later was appointed as a canon in the cathedral of Frauenburg where he spent a sheltered and academic life for the rest of his days. His interest in astronomy gradually grew to be one in which he had a primary interest. He made his celestial observations from a turret situated on the protective wall around the cathedral, one hundred years before the invention of the telescope.
In 1530, Copernicus asserted that the earth rotated on its axis once daily and traveled around the sun once yearly: a fantastic concept for the times.
Copernicus was in no hurry to publish his theory, though parts of his work were circulated among a few of the astronomers that were giving the matter some thought. Copernicus was reluctant to publish, -- not so much that he was concerned with what the church might say about his novel theory, but rather because he was a perfectionist and he never thought, even after working on it for thirty years, that his complete work was ready.
Copernicus' original manuscript, lost to the world for 300 years, was located in Prague in the middle of the 19th century. Copernicus died in 1543 and was never to know what a stir his work had caused. It went against the philosophical and religious beliefs that had been held during the medieval times. Copernicus' theories might well lead men to think that they are simply part of nature and not superior to it and that ran counter to the theories of the politically powerful churchmen of the time.
Galileo embraced the Copernican theory unreservedly and as a result suffered much personal injury at the hands of the powerful church inquisitors. The most important aspect of Copernicus' work is that it forever changed the place of man in the cosmos.

More Biographies at www.TheMathWebSite.com.