Birthplace of Copernicus, Poland

Birthplace of Copernicus, Poland

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Credit: BABAK TAFRESHI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The 15th-century Gothic house in Torun, Poland, where Nicolaus Copernicus was born. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was an astronomer who claimed that the Universe was centred on the Sun. From 1512 he developed a full mathematical model for this heliocentric theory. His ideas conflicted with contemporary Roman Catholic doctrine which held that the Universe was Earth-centred, as described by Ptolemy over a thousand years before. Copernicus's book, The Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, was banned by the Roman Catholic church from 1616 until 1835. This house is now a museum of Copernicus's life and work.

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