OMIKRON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY OMIKRON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Portrait of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), the Polish astronomer who first claimed that the Universe was centered on the Sun. From 1512 he developed a mathematical model for this heliocentric theory. This system contrasted with the thousand year old Earth-centered Ptolemaic system to which the Roman Catholic church held. Copernicus feared persecution and 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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