Black and white image of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

Nicolaus Copernicus

(1473 - 1543)

Nicolaus Copernicus’ On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres revived the notion of a heliocentric universe first advanced around 250 bc by the Greek astronomer Aristarchus. Copernicus, a Church canon who pursued astronomy mostly in his spare time, finished the book around 1530 but did not publish it until 1543, the year of his death; between then and 1610, it is believed there were only about a dozen physicists and mathematicians who subscribed to his heliocentric theories, among them Giordano Bruno, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei.

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