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Copernicus' childhood: from religion to science

Nicolaus Copernicus was born in 1473 in the city of Torun on the banks of the Vistula in a merchant family. When he was very young, his father died during a plague epidemic. The boy was taken care of by an uncle on his mother's side, who held a high position of bishop in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

It so happened that Nikolai was brought up from childhood in the bosom of the Catholic Church. Under the direct patronage of the bishop, his uncle, he prepared for the church path. Already at the age of 24, he was promoted to canon. However, in addition to his passion for theology, Copernicus from childhood was distinguished by a keen interest in other areas of knowledge: mathematics, medicine, philosophy.

After graduating from the University of Krakow, Nikolai went to Italy. And this was a turning point in the life of a 19-year-old boy. Here, in Italy, everything was different: a different climate, a different sky, painting, architecture. Copernicus truly fell in love with these lands and did his best to stay at Italian universities as long as possible. On the Apennine Peninsula, he spent a total of 10 years. And even when there was a lack of money, when the church insisted on his return and the beginning of fulfilling the duties of a canon, Nicholas found all sorts of excuses so as not to leave Italy.

The first university where Copernicus ended up and where he began to study canon law was the University of Bologna. It was here, in Bologna, that the young theologian managed to carry out the first independent astronomical observations and make sure that Ptolemy's theory, generally recognized and blessed by the church, is not at all as correct as it seemed. Then there were the years of study in Padua, where Nikolai studied medicine. And finally, Ferrara, where he received the required doctorate of theology.

Heliocentrism: Copernicus' system of the world

After Copernicus returned to his homeland, whether he lived in the episcopal palace or taught at the University of Krakow, he no longer gave up his astronomical observations. Having moved after the death of his uncle to the city of Frombork on the banks of the Vistula, Nikolai settled in a tower above the fortress wall and spent 30 years here, watching the sky.

No, he was not at all an armchair scientist hiding in Frombork's dungeons from reality. He held important positions in the church hierarchy and even once became the head of the defense of Olsztyn Castle. Times were not easy: the Reformation was underway, the secularization of the German order took place, and the Polish lands had to be defended from the enemy. Why am I writing this article? I remember how, as a student, I wanted to buy an essay, but at the last moment I decided to write an article myself and was so carried away by the biography of this scientist that I still admire him.


For 30 years, Copernicus has diligently formed and developed his idea of ​​the heliocentric structure of the world. He did not enter into discussions. He collected evidence of his innocence. Subsequently, the scientist wrote that he re-read all the philosophical books that he could find to make sure that, perhaps, there are other theories regarding the structure of the world than those taught in schools. He unexpectedly saw that Cicero, Plutarch, and the followers of Pythagoras spoke about the fact that the Earth is not motionless, that it revolves around fire.

Thus, proceeding from philosophical theory, Copernicus proved that the center of the Universe, that is, the center of creation, is not the Earth at all (a real heresy from the point of view of the Catholic Church), but the Sun.

Copernicus theory: banned for three centuries

For his contemporaries, Copernicus became the man who stopped the Sun and moved the Earth. However, one should not think that everyone so easily agreed with his theory. On the contrary, the church reformer Martin Luther condemned the scientist's ideas in every possible way. “This fool wants to turn all astronomical art upside down,” he said.

As for the Catholic Church, for some time she did not notice the research of Copernicus. The reason for this was his main work "On the Rotation of the Celestial Spheres", published literally on the eve of his death, in 1543, and dedicated to Pope Paul III. The work was included in the "Index of Forbidden Books" only 70 years later and remained under strict taboo until the middle of the 19th century.

Speaking about the main achievements of Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer-theologian, who made humanity look at the world order in a new way, one cannot but mention a number of other hypotheses put forward by him, which were subsequently confirmed. So, for example, he suggested that the surface of other planets is similar to the surface of the Earth, that the motion of Venus has its own phases, that not all stars in the Universe are accessible to the human eye. The advent of the telescope proved this.

In many ways, of course, Copernicus was wrong. His mathematical calculations were not always accurate, most of the ideas never received confirmation. But he did the main thing - he gave people a new point of coordinates, a new vision of the world, and at the same time a new place for man in the Universe.