(February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543)

Although Renaissance began in Italy, most renaissance-era mathematicians were non-Italians. Among the best of these was Nicolaus Copernicus. He was a Catholic Canon and physician (of Polish origin), who learned from the works of Alhazen Ibn al-Haytham and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi. As the foremost European astronomer of his era, Copernicus 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, The Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, which was published in the early 1540s, is one of the epoch-making publications in the entire history of science. Its heliocentrism was a direct contradiction of the millennium-old geocentrism, which had been adhered to since the days of Claudius Ptolemy. It would later influence Tycho Brahe, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and a long list of others. Copernicus was also a polymath and a polyglot whose literary interests stretched into diverse areas that include: art, literature, jurisprudence, medicine, theology, philosophy, commerce, astronomy and mathematics. Although his reputation as a gutsy scientist is often cited, it is worth noting that he was extremely brilliant and meticulous. The depths of his works, especially their analyses and conclusions, said a lot about the agility of his mind. Hence, it is no surprise that his sagacity compares favorably to those of Aristarchus and Johannes Kepler. Alongside several concepts and items, the 300-kilometer-wide Copernicus Martian crater, the 93-kilometer-wide Copernicus lunar crater, and the 1322 Coppernicus asteroid are dedicated as his memorials.


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