(February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543)

Although Renaissance began in Italy, most of the renaissance-era mathematicians (in Europe) were non-Italians. Among the greatest of these was a Catholic Canon (of Polish origin) named Nicolaus Copernicus. He was the brilliant astronomer who championed the then risky but accurate notion of the sun being the center of the solar system: with all the other planets orbiting it. His masterpiece, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (which was published in the early 1540s, and translates to: The Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) is one of the epoch-making publications in the entire history of science. Its Heliocentric Theory theme was a direct contradiction of the millennium-old Geocentric Theory, which had been adhered to since the days of Claudius Ptolemy. It enlightened and influenced Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and a long list of others. Copernicus was also a polymath as well as a polyglot whose literary contributions stretched into a wide range of subjects, including: law, medicine, religion, philosophy, economics, science and mathematics. Although his reputation as a gutsy scientist is often cited, it is worth noting that he was extremely brilliant. The depths of his works, including their analyses and conclusions, said a lot about the agility of his mind. Hence, it is no surprise that his intellectual versatility compares to those of Gottfried Leibniz and René Descartes.


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