Statue of Nicolaus Copernicus

Statue of Nicolaus Copernicus

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Credit: RICHARD WAREHAM FOTOGRAFIE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Statue of Nicolaus Copernicus at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Polish astronomer, born in Torun, who claimed that the Universe was centred on the Sun. From 1512 he developed a full mathematical model for this heliocentric theory. This system contrasted with that described by Ptolemy over a thousand years before which held that the Universe was Earth-centred. The Ptolemaic system had become the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church. Copernicus, fearing persecution, delayed publication of his book, The Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, until 1543. The book was banned by the Roman Catholic church from 1616 until 1835.

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