Copernican System
   The heliocentric or sun-centered theory of the universe was postulated by a great Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). For more than fourteen hundred years people had accepted the system of Ptolemy, namely, that the sun moved round the earth. That the opposite is true—that the planets revolved round the sun—had been considered many years before by the School of Pythagoras. Thanks to Copernicus, scientists have all come to agree that the sun is the center of the system of planets (the heliocentric theory), and that knowledge has become the foundation of modern astronomy.
   Although friends of Copernicus urged him to publish his masterwork Concerning the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres, he hid his publication for many years, for he knew that, although he was dedicating his work to Pope Paul III, a mind dominated by theology could not admit into its thinking scientific facts that might conflict with his beliefs. He was right, of course. The book was published when Copernicus was lying on his deathbed, and it was promptly placed on the Index of Forbidden Books.
   Copernicus was born in Thorn, Prussian Poland. He studied astronomy and mathematics at the University of Cracow, and then spent three years at the University of Bologna, where he also studied Greek and philosophy. He decided on a career with the church, becoming a canon at the Cathedral of Frauenburg, East Prussia. Although he remained at that post until his death, his chief interest was in astronomy.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Copernican system — n. the theory of Copernicus that the planets revolve around the sun and that the turning of the earth on its axis from west to east accounts for the apparent rising and setting of the stars: basis of modern astronomy * * * or Copernican principle …   Universalium

  • Copernican system — (also Copernican theory) ► NOUN ▪ the theory proposed by the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 1543) that the sun is the centre of the solar system, with the planets (including the earth) orbiting round it. Compare with PTOLEMAIC… …   English terms dictionary

  • Copernican system — n. the theory of Copernicus that the planets revolve around the sun and that the turning of the earth on its axis from west to east accounts for the apparent rising and setting of the stars: basis of modern astronomy …   English World dictionary

  • Copernican system — Pythagorean Pyth a*go re*an, a. [L. Pythagoreus, Gr. ?.] Of or pertaining to Pythagoras (a Greek philosopher, born about 582 b. c.), or his philosophy. [1913 Webster] The central thought of the Pythagorean philosophy is the idea of number, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Copernican system — Koperniko sistema statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. Copernican system vok. kopernikanisches System, n rus. система Коперника, f pranc. système de Copernic, m …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • Copernican system — [kə pə:nɪk(ə)n] (also Copernican theory) noun Astronomy the theory proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus that the sun is the centre of the solar system, with the planets (including the earth) orbiting round it. Compare with Ptolemaic system …   English new terms dictionary

  • Copernican system — n. (also Copernican theory) Astron. the theory that the planets (including the earth) move round the sun (cf. Ptolemaic system). Etymology: Copernicus latinized f. M. Kopernik, Polish astronomer d. 1543 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Copernican system — noun A heliocentric model of the solar system, proposed in the 16th Century by the eponymous astronomer …   Wiktionary

  • Copernican system — Co|per|ni|can sys|tem, the the idea, first suggested by Copernicus, that the Earth and the other ↑planets all travel in circles around the sun. Before this it was believed, according to the Ptolemaic system, that the Earth was at the centre of… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Copernican system — /kəpɜnɪkən ˈsɪstəm/ (say kuhpernikuhn sistuhm) noun a model of the universe in which the planets revolved around the sun. Compare Ptolemaic system …   Australian English dictionary

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