NAME: Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish)
BORN/DIED: 19th Feb 1473 – 24th May 1543
JOB: Astronomer, Mathematician
KEY FACTS: Nicolaus Copernicus was born in what is now Northern Poland. When his father died, his uncle ensured that he got a good education which included developing a good understanding of mathematical astronomy.
Copernicus developed a fascination for astronomy and is famous for his idea of a heliocentric solar system. This is a system in which the planets orbit the sun. He wrote a book about this theory in which he correctly positioned all the planets known at the time, explained that the Earth rotated on its axis and explained how the seasons occurred.
ACHIEVEMENTS: Copernicus wrote the book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium which is regarded as one of the most important books in astronomy. His idea of a heliocentric solar system helped to develop peoples understanding of space and influenced future astronomers to develop his ideas further.