(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 Polish Catholic Canon named Nicolaus Copernicus. He was the brilliant astronomer who publicly pioneered the 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, 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 respective analyses and conclusions, said a lot about the agility of his mind. Hence, it is no surprise that his intellectual versatility compares to that of Gottfried Leibniz.

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