About Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a mathematician and astronomer who proposed that the sun was stationary in the center of the universe and the earth revolved around it. Disturbed by the failure of Ptolemy's geocentric model of the universe to follow Aristotle's requirement for the uniform circular motion of all celestial bodies and determined to eliminate Ptolemy's equant, an imaginary point around which the bodies seemed to follow that requirement, Copernicus decided that he could achieve his goal only through a heliocentric model. He thereby created a concept of a universe in which the distances of the planets from the sun bore a direct relationship to the size of their orbits. At the time Copernicus's heliocentric idea was very controversial; nevertheless, it was the start of a change in the way the world was viewed, and Copernicus came to be seen as the initiator of the Scientific Revolution.

The patronage in his life

Copernicus initially shared his ideas about the heliocentric hypothesis to his friends with his Commentariolus, a six page hand-written text. When Copernicus’ work was nearing its definitive form, rumors about his theory had reached educated people all over Europe. Despite urgings from many quarters, Copernicus delayed with the publication of his book, perhaps from fear of criticism-a fear delicately expressed in the subsequent dedication of his masterpiece to Pope Paul III.

Georg Joachim Rheticus, a Wittenberg mathematician came to become Copernicus' pupil, staying with him for two years and writing a book, Narratio prima, outlining the essence of Copernicus' theory. Under strong pressure from Rheticus, and having seen the favorable first general reception of his work, Copernicus finally agreed to publish De revolutionibus.

Tizian

Rheticus asked and received the permission of the Duke Albrecht for the publication of the Copernicus' De Revolutionibus. In return, Albrecht requested of Rheticus that he return to his teaching position. Even after he returned to the University of Wittenberg, Rheticus traveled to Nürnberg to supervise the printing of the Copernicus material, published upon Copernicus' death in 1543.

The book is dedicated to Pope Paul III in a preface that argues that mathematics, not physics, should be the basis for understanding and accepting his new theory.

Rheticus services to Copernicus

Copernicus was still working on De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (even if not convinced that he wanted to publish it) when in 1539 Georg Joachim Rheticus, a Wittenberg mathematician, arrived in Frombork. Philipp Melanchthon had arranged for Rheticus to visit several astronomers and study with them.

Rheticus became Copernicus' pupil, staying with him for two years and writing a book, Narratio prima (First Account), outlining the essence of Copernicus' theory. In 1542 Rheticus published a treatise on trigonometry by Copernicus (later included in the second book of De revolutionibus).

Under strong pressure from Rheticus, and having seen the favorable first general reception of his work, Copernicus finally agreed to give De revolutionibus to his close friend, Tiedemann Giese, bishop of Chelmno (Kulm), to be delivered to Rheticus for printing by Johannes Petreius at Nuremberg (Nürnberg).

[Source: Wikipedia]

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Copernicus

His Pupil, Rheticus

An Austrian mystic and mathematician who studied under, and was the most outspoken advocate of, Copernicus, and who arranged for the posthumous publication of Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543).

De revolutionibus orbium coelestium