Nicolaus Copernicus in Conversation with God
Nicolaus Copernicus
Co-founder of the Scientific Revolution
"...With the utmost earnestness I entreat you, most learned sir, unless I inconvenience you, to communicate this discovery of yours to scholars..."
                              - Letter from the Archbishop of Capua, 1536.

He was indeed a Renaissance Man, educated at the Krakow Academy (today, Jagiellonian University), and at universities in Bologna, Padua, and Ferrara. He studies included medicine and mathematics, culminating in a doctorate in canon law. He signed himself "Coppernic" until the mid-1530s when he began using the Latinized academic form of his name, "Nicolaus Copernicus". Poles remember him as "Mikolaj Kopernik".

He might be remembered for his persuasive works on coinage and monetary policies had he not had a lifelong passion for his hobby of astronomy. His early observations with an Italian astronomer were recorded in 1497 and in 1504 he began collecting data in earnest. This resulted in his hand-written, six page work entitled "Little Commentary" which contained his seven basic assumptions and was intended for his little circle of astronomer friends. It is the basis for his scientific theory of heliocentric cosmology, i.e. the solar system with the Sun at its center.

in 1533, Pope Clement VII and several other Catholic cardinals attended a series of lectures in Rome regarding the Copernic Theory and were impressed with Copernicus' work.

Despite the urgings of fellow astronomers and Catholic clergymen and for reasons really known only by Copernicus and God, he was reluctant to publish his work. Perhaps he was afraid that his work would not be taken seriously or maybe he feared a "culture shock" among the general public when they learned that they were no longer the center of the universe. In 1543, however, he finally agreed to let Johannes Petreius of Nuremberg publish his "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium", also known as "On the Revolution of Celestial Spheres".

Copernicus takes his place along side Andreas Vesalius of Brussels, who that same year published "De Humani Corporis Fabrica", as the co-founders of the Scientific Revolution which would engulf European thought.

Revolutionary ideas in the Kingdom of Poland were not merely limited to science. Revolutionary ideas regarding civics and the structure of society would soon follow.

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)

"On the Revolution of Celestial Spheres" 1543

Background music: Chopin Polonaise Opus 38, 2
Dennis Benarz, Chicagoland USA 2009