Nicolaus Copernicus, born in 1473, was the orphaned son of a copper merchant in Toruń. Thanks to his bishop uncle, he obtained a first class education at the Kraków Academy and then in Italy, where he became an avid observer of the night sky – even though he was supposed to be preparing for a church career.
His day job as a church canon, diplomat and doctor in Frombork – when he wasn't defending castles against the Teutonic Knights – meant that it took him over 30 years to finish his book 'On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres' in which he presented an Earth-shattering new idea – that maybe it wasn't actually at the centre of the universe as everyone believed, but in fact revolved around the Sun.
Although it would take another century until Galileo was able to prove Copernicus right inarguably using the later invention of the telescope, Copernicus's book, published in 1543 in Nuremberg, would mark the beginning of a very real revolution in science and our understanding of the universe.
Listen to the episode to find out how he came to this unexpected conclusion, and what happened next.
Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter!Further reading
- Copernicus: Revelations about the Renaissance Man // on Culture.pl
- Astronomer Copernicus, or Conversations with God – Jan Matejko // on Culture.pl
- A Quiz About Copernicus: More Than a Great Astronomer! // on Culture.pl
- Copernicus, by Jan Matejko // video by Waldemar Januszczak on YouTube.com
- Nicolaus Copernicus Museum // in Frombork, Northern Poland
Małgorzata Czupajło // Educator at the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Frombork.
Dava Sobel // Science history writer and author of A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos.
Prof. Karl Galle // Science historian at the American University in Cairo, currently working on a book delving into Copernicus's life in Warmia, including his roles as a church administrator, diplomat, cartographer and doctor.
Lastly, a special thank you to the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Frombork for their help in making this episode possible.Credits
Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak