Nicolaus Copernicus is widely regarded as the Father of Modern Astronomy, as well as for arguing that the Earth is revolving around the sun, which was a controversial issue of debate until the mid-17th century. But before he found his calling in heliocentrism, Copernicus was a flexible scholar who studied several unrelated fields, which include medicine and church law.
While most people believe that the Catholic Church had skewered any person who embraced heliocentrism, he actually had a good relationship with the church. In fact, at the start of his career, he was elected as a canon, which is a position just below the bishop. However, he lied low on his church work as he pursued astronomy and found both supporters and detractors in the church afterwards. Do these things sound surprising to you? Wait until you have read more interesting facts about Copernicus’s career and long life.
1. He Never Managed To Earn a Bachelor’s Degree.
Though he attended a lot of colleges (the University of Bologna, the University of Cracow and the University of Padua), there was no record of Copernicus ever managing to earn a bachelor’s degree. After all, men did not need to get some kind of bachelor’s degree to study for a higher degree and for a church career at that time, so his career path was not unusual.
2. He Was Sort Of An Economist.
Before getting into astronomy, Copernicus wrote essays with regards to the stabilization of currency value.
3. Without a Medical Degree, He Practiced Medicine.
When Copernicus’s father died, his uncle, who was a bishop, took him (along with his 3 siblings) under his protection. When his uncle fell ill in the later part of his life, Copernicus acted as his physician. He even acted as the physician for his uncle’s successor and for the members of his church chapter. Withal, he never received a degree in medicine.
4. His Theory Was Not The First Of Its Kind.
Truth is, Copernicus was not the first individual to think that, perhaps, not everything in the sky is revolving around the Earth. There were Pythagoreans who also thought that the Earth is revolving around a central fire that was not the sun. Meanwhile, Aristarchus of Samos, ancient Greek astronomer, also proposed that the Earth is rotating 360 degrees a day and is orbiting the sun.
5. He Did Not Actually Think That The Earth Revolves Around The Sun.
In Copernicus’ theory, he implies that the Earth and other planets are revolving around a center that was not exactly the sun, but something that is just near to it. You would find the Christian Science Monitor outlining his other important axioms.
6. He Was Less Hated Than Most People Think.
Take note that not all signs were pointing to disaster for heliocentrism and the Catholic Church in the medieval era. In fact, Copernicus sent manuscripts regarding his theory to other scholars and astronomers, including a few who mentioned that his ideas seemed to contradict the Bible, but most of them encouraged him. Mathematics professor, Georg Joachim Rheticus, even published and circulated an introduction to the scholar’s heliocentric ideas to little reaction from the readers. That is why Copernicus decided to publish “On the Revolutions”, a seminal that posited that the Earth is revolving around a point near the sun.
7. He Was a Great Influence On Poland And Prussia’s Monetary And Defense Systems.
Copernicus was an important figure in bringing monetary reform to Prussia and Poland, with a study he wrote entitled “Gresham’s Law”, which helped people understand the money theory in the 1500s. It was a theory or movement that wanted a new system of supplying money and then financially supporting the economy from the new system. Aside from this, he led the Royal Polish defense forces of Warmid and Olsztyn during the Polish-Teutonic War that went on from 1519 to 1521. Moreover, he participated in a few peace negotiations that ended certain conflicts.
8. He Served As An Inspiration To Claudius Ptolemy.
Copernicus’s research into the universe had led him to read the book “Epitome of the Almagest” by Regiomontus. This book also gave an alternative to Ptolemy’s model of the universe, which was widely accepted as true during the time.
9. His Popular Theory Was Somehow Misinterpreted.
It is widely celebrated that Copernicus’s theory implies that the Earth revolves around the sun, but actually, it implies that there were multiple centers of the universe, with one located near the sun. To be fair, the scholar changed his theories, as the initial reaction his heliocentric model received was just almost none. With such a change, his theory drew in a huge reaction.
10. He Was Never Imprisoned.
Despite his theories about the universe, Copernicus never really experienced persecution, but other scholars and philosophers who attempted to prove his theories mathematically were not as lucky as him. A great example of these individuals was Galileo, who was placed under house arrest because of his efforts to try to prove Copernicus’s heliocentric theories. At best, Copernicus just faced criticism and nothing more.
11. He Had An Interesting Dedication.
Actually, Copernicus dedicated his theories to the Pope during his time, which may have had an effect on the desire of the Church to ban his book, which it needed to do not to be misinterpreted as supporting the scholar with the dedication in place. However, just before Copernicus died, it was not the Catholic Church who started an attempt to alter the public’s perception of his heliocentric theories, but the followers of Martin Luther.
Now, you can see that Copernicus’ life was really interesting. He changed the way people think about the universe and was persistent in unlocking and finding new moments of knowledge that everyone would benefit from. That is why he is called the “Father of Modern Astronomy”, despite not being able to really earn a full degree. More so, his skills were not limited to just astronomy, but also expanded being a physician, economist, mathematician, translator, diplomat and artist.