(Mikolaj Kopernik; 1473–1543) Polish astronomer,
who studied mathematics and optics. By 1514 he had formulated his proposal that the planets, including the earth, orbit the sun in circular paths, although it was not formally published until the year he died. This refutation of an earth-centred universe raised hostile opposition from the church as well as from other astronomers. See Copernican astronomy.
Subjects: Science and Mathematics — Early Modern History (1500 to 1700).