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The 71 best famous phrases of Copernicus

The 71 best famous phrases of Copernicus

June 4, 2022

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543) was a leading Polish Renaissance scientist and astronomer to whom we owe many contributions in this discipline.

Among his most outstanding achievements we find the formulation of the heliocentric theory, which explained to us that the center of the universe is not the Earth, as it used to be thought, but the Sun.

Great phrases by Nicolaus Copernicus

He studied in Krakow and Rome until being considered one of the most brilliant thinkers of his time.

In today's article let's know the theories, thoughts and phrases of Copernicus , one of the most important thinkers of our millennium.

1. Nature never does anything superfluous, nothing useless, and knows how to draw multiple effects from a single cause.

On the majestic complexity of the natural world.


2. I am not so in love with my own opinions as to ignore what others may think about them.

His humble and dialoguing personality is reflected in this phrase.

3. If by chance there are charlatans who, while being ignorant of all mathematics, boasting of a judgment on them by some passage of the scriptures, malignantly distorted of their meaning, dared to reject and attack this structuring of mine, I do not do at all in their case, to the point of condemning his judgment as reckless.

Putting the points on the i's to its detractors.

4. Know that we know what we know and know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.

Great reflection on what is known and what is known that is not known.


5. First, we must know that the universe is spherical.

A maxim that was not known at that time.

6. The ocean envelops the Earth and fills its deepest chasms.

Reflection of geographical cut.

7. As sitting on a royal throne, the Sun governs the family of planets that revolve around you.

A great metaphor to understand the role of the Sun in our solar system.

8. In the midst of everything there is the Sun. Well, who in this beautiful temple would put this lamp in another better place, from which everything could be illuminated?

Another ode to the king star.

9. The movement of the Earth alone is enough to explain so many apparent inequalities in the heavens.

The speed at which the Earth moves is absolutely incredible.

10. Mathematics is written for mathematicians.

To reflect on this exact science.


11. The earth together with its surrounding waters must, in fact, have a shape such as that which reveals its shadow, since it eclipses the moon with the arc of a perfect circle.

Poetic astronomical phrase.

12. Furthermore, since the sun stands still, what appears as the movement of the sun is actually due rather to the movement of the earth.

On the movement of each of the planets and stars.

13. That nobody expects anything sure of astronomy, because nothing true offers us; If, when leaving this discipline, someone takes for granted what was done for another use, he will end up crazier than when he gets into it.

A phrase of Copernicus on astronomical science.

14. Near the sun is the center of the universe.

Over the years, it seems that Copernicus was wrong in this statement.

15. Of all the visible things, the highest is the sky of the fixed stars.

Light years from our eyes.

16. It is possible that the things I am saying now are obscure, but they will be clarified in the place that corresponds to them.

Certainly, in the later centuries many of the teachings of Copernicus were confirmed.

17. To know the powerful works of God, to understand his wisdom, majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the marvelous functioning of its laws, surely all this must be a mode of worship acceptable and acceptable to the Most High, for whom ignorance can not be more grateful than knowledge.

On his believing facet.

18. Each light has its shadow, and each shadow has a following morning.

Philosophical aspect of the great Nicolaus Copernicus.

19. The Universe has been forged for us by a supremely good and orderly Creator.

Another reflection on God.

20. Trismegistus calls him a "visible God"; Electra de Sophocles, "that which contemplates all things". And so the sun, as if resting on a royal throne, governs the family of stars that revolve around.

On the sun

21. Nations are not ruined by a single act of violence, but gradually and almost imperceptibly by the depreciation of their currency, through its excessive amount.

About inflation.

22. The massive mass of the earth actually reduces to insignificance compared to the size of the heavens.

All enormity is in a certain way relative.

23. Among the authorities, it is generally agreed that the Earth is at rest in the middle of the universe, and consider that it is inconceivable and even ridiculous to have the opposite opinion.However, if we consider it more closely, the question will still be unresolved, and so decidedly that we should not despise it. For each apparent change with respect to the position is due to the movement of the observed object, or the observer, or even to an unequal change of both.

Another phrase about relativity.

24. Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the Earth remains at rest in the center of the heavens as its center, would consider, as I consider it a pronounced insanity, if I would make the opposite claim that the earth move.

To think about the strength of social consensus.

25. Because what could be more beautiful than the heavens that contain all beautiful things.

On the majesty of the universe.

26. I am aware that the ideas of a philosopher are not subject to the judgment of ordinary people, because their effort is to seek the truth in all things, to the extent that human reason allows God.

On the epistemology of his time.

27. Furthermore, since the sun remains stationary, everything that appears as a movement of the sun is due rather to the movement of the Earth.

Another of the discoveries about the investigations on the relationship between the Earth and the Sun.

28. In so many and so important ways, then, the planets bear witness to the mobility of the earth.

Looking outward you can get to know the Earth better.

29. In the first book I will describe all the positions of the spheres, together with the movements that I attribute to the Earth, so that the book contains, so to speak, the general structure of the universe. In the remaining books I relate the movements of the remaining stars, and all the spheres, with the mobility of the Earth, so that it can be established to what extent the movements and appearances of the remaining stars and spheres can be saved, if they refer to to the movements of the Earth.

Moving forward the structure of his scientific writings.

30. Now I will remember that the movement of the celestial bodies is circular, since the appropriate movement for a sphere is the rotation in a circle.

Another conclusion reached through previous findings.

31. First of all, we should note that the universe is spherical.

Another starting point that this scientist used.

32. The contempt for the novelty and unconventionality of my opinion almost led me to abandon completely the work I had undertaken.

Copernicus, confessing the psychological impact that opinions against his work had for him.

33. Astronomy is written for astronomers. For them my work will also seem, unless I am wrong, to make a contribution.

A joint effort to know better the reality of the stars.

34. However, the generalized planetary theories, advanced by Ptolemy and most other astronomers, despite being consistent with the numerical data, also seemed to present no lesser difficulty. Because these theories were not adequate unless they also conceived certain equalizing circles, which made the planet seem to move at all times with uniform velocity neither in its deferential sphere nor in the center of its own epicycle.

A critical look at the work of previous researchers.

35. In the midst of all the sun dwelleth.

Another of the main conclusions of this scientist about the solar system.

36. It is the duty of an astronomer to compose the history of celestial movements through careful and expert study

An opinion about the role of the astronomer.

37. Because when a ship floats quietly, the sailors see their movement reflected in everything outside, while, on the other hand, assume that they are motionless, along with everything on board. In the same way, the movement of the earth can undoubtedly produce the impression that the whole universe is spinning.

About a subjective impression that does not reflect reality.

38. Although all good arts serve to turn man's mind away from vices and lead him to better things, this function can be more fully executed by this art, which also provides extraordinary intellectual pleasure.

Art can channel fundamental needs.

39. Not only were the phenomena of the others followed by this, but they also united both the order and the magnitude of all the planets and the spheres and the sky itself, that nowhere could one thing be altered without confusion between the other parts. and throughout the universe.

A logical chain that commits several scientific conclusions.

40. Therefore, having obtained the opportunity from these sources, I also began to consider the mobility of the land.

More explanations about the beginnings of Copernicus' investigations about the planetary movement.

41. Consequently, since nothing prevents the Earth from moving, I suggest that we should now also consider whether several movements satisfy it, so that it can be considered as one of the planets. Because, it is not the center of all revolutions.

42We are taught all this the movement of the Earth on its axis and around the sun by the order of succession, in which these phenomena (several planetary events) follow each other, and by the harmony of the world, if we only do it, as says the saying, look at the matter with both eyes.

43. When, therefore, I had considered this uncertainty of traditional mathematics, I began to tire of the absence of a more definite explanation of the movement of the machine-world established in our name by the best and most systematic builder of all, between the philosophers who had studied so exactly in other aspects the smallest details regarding the sphere.

Another of the phrases of Copernicus in which they talk about their motivations.

44. For a traveler going from any place to the north, that pole of the daily rotation gradually rises higher, while the opposite pole drops an equal amount.

Another reflection based on mathematical logic.

45. Then, influenced by these advisers and by this hope, I finally allowed my friends to publish the work, as they had asked me for a long time.

More considerations about the tricky issue of certain conclusions.

46. ​​We consider it a certainty that the earth, enclosed between poles, is limited by a spherical surface.

The description of a generalized belief.

47. Therefore, it would not be unknown to His Holiness, the only thing that led me to look for another way to calculate the movements of celestial bodies was that I knew that mathematicians in no way agree in their investigation of them.

The lack of consensus drives the investigation.

48. The two revolutions, I mean the annual revolutions of the declination and the center of the Earth, are not completely equal; that is, the return of the decline to its original value is slightly ahead of the center period. Therefore, it necessarily follows that the equinoxes and solstices seem to anticipate their synchronization, not because the sphere of the fixed stars moves to the east, but because the equatorial circle moves to the west, at an angle to the plane of the ecliptic in proportion to the declination of the axis of the globe.

Appreciations about the axes of the movement.

49. The strongest affect and the greatest zeal should, I believe, promote studies related to the most beautiful objects. This is the discipline that deals with the divine revolutions of the universe, the movements of the stars, the sizes, the distances, the uprisings and the scenarios. . . because, what is more beautiful than heaven?

In defense of the aesthetic component of astronomy.

  1. Since, then, there is no objection to the mobility of the Earth, I believe that now it must be considered if several movements are appropriate for it, so that it can be considered as one of the wandering stars. One more step in the line of reasoning that this researcher undertook.

51. So if the value of the arts is measured by the subject matter they deal with, this art - which some call astronomy, others astrology, and many of the old ones the consummation of mathematics - would be by far the most prominent. This art that is like the head of all the liberal arts and the most worthy of a free man rests on almost all the other branches of mathematics. Arithmetic, geometry, optics, geodesy, mechanics and everything else offer themselves at your service.

An appreciation of the value of the scientific field Copernicus covered.

52. It is seen that no more stars are established in the north, while in the south no more stars are seen to rise.

An observation to the celestial vault.

53. I have no doubt that certain educated men, now that the novelty of the hypotheses in this work has been widely publicized-for it establishes that the Earth moves, and that the Sun is immobile in the middle of the universe-are extremely shocked, and think that the academic disciplines, correctly established once and for all, should not be bothered. But if they are willing to judge the matter thoroughly, they will discover that the author of this work has not committed anything that deserves censorship.

About the impact that their discoveries had in their historical context.

54. True laws can not be reached by the use of reason; and from these assumptions, motions can be calculated correctly, both for the future and for the past.

55. Nor is it necessary for these hypotheses to be true, not even probable, but it is sufficient if they simply produce calculations that agree with the observations.

A reflection on the process of creating knowledge scientifically.

56. I myself consider that gravity is only a certain natural inclination with which the architect of all things imbues the parts to come together in a unity and totality in the form of a globe.

A curious explanation about the operation of gravity that starts from the concept of God.

57. The apparent retrograde and direct movement of the planets does not arise from their movement, but from the Earth.

Another of Copernicus' phrases that show the way in which he expressed his greatest discovery.

58. It is easy to believe that the Sun, the Moon and other luminaries among the wandering stars also have this tendency, so that, by their action, they retain the rounded shape in which they are revealed, but nevertheless they go through their orbits in various ways . If then the Earth also performs other movements, such as the center one, they must necessarily be similar to those observed in a similar way in many external bodies in which we find an annual orbit.

Considerations about the movements of the stars and their relationship with those of the Earth.

59. Consequently, since nothing prevents the Earth from moving, I suggest that we should now also consider whether several movements satisfy it, so that it can be considered as one of the planets.

Interesting reflection.

60. What appears to us as movements of the Sun does not arise from its movement, but from the movement of the Earth and our sphere, with which we rotate around the sun like any other planet. The earth has, then, more than one movement.

The description of the movements of rotation and translation.

61. Some think that the earth remains at rest. But Philolaus the Pythagorean believes that, like the sun and the moon, he revolves around the fire in an oblique circle. Heraclides of Pontus, and Ephantus the Pythagoras make the earth move, not in a progressive movement, but as a wheel in a rotation from west to east around its own center.

A review of the different perspectives on the nature of planet Earth.

62. Therefore, I set myself the task of re-reading the books of all the philosophers who were available to search if anyone had ever believed that the movements of the spheres of the universe were different from those professed by mathematics in schools .

Explaining their motivations and starting point.

63. I hesitated for a long time about whether to bring to light my treatise, written to demonstrate the movement of the Earth, or whether it would be better to follow the example of the Pythagoreans and some others, who used to convey the mysteries of their philosophy simply to his family and friends, not in writing, but by personal contact, as attested by the letter of Lysias to Hipparchus.

This investigator feared the reprisals that his discoveries could originate.

64. Through constant observation and significant contact with the divine order of the structure of the world, arranged by the wisdom of God, who would not be guided to admire the Builder who creates everything!

A mixture of Christian faith and use of the principles of science.

65. After addressing this very difficult and almost insoluble problem, I came to the conclusion of how it could be solved with less and much simpler constructions than those previously used, if I were granted some assumptions (which are called axioms).

On the need to start from presuppositions.

66. The center of the Earth is not the center of the universe, but only the gravity and the lunar sphere.

About the relative importance of our planet.

67. The relation of the distance of the Earth from the Sun to the height of the firmament is much smaller than the relation of the radius of the Earth with its distance from the Sun, that the distance from the Earth to the Sun is imperceptible in comparison with the height of the sky.

Incredible analysis

68. Any movement that appears in the firmament does not arise from any movement of the firmament, but from the movement of the earth. The Earth together with its circumjacent elements performs a complete rotation in its fixed poles in a daily movement, while the firmament and the highest heaven remain unchanged.

A clear summary about the main discovery of Copernicus.

69. All these phenomena come from the same course, which is found in the movement of the Earth. But the fact that none of these phenomena appears in the fixed stars shows its immense elevation, which makes even the circle of its annual movement or apparent movement disappear from our eyes.

An estimate about the great distance to which the celestial bodies are.

70. Not a few other very eminent and learned men made the same request, urging that I should no longer, for fear of refusing, give my work for the common benefit of Mathematics students.

About the disclosure of this scientist's discoveries.

71. I can easily conceive, Holy Father, that as soon as some people learn that in this book I have written about the revolutions of the celestial bodies, I attribute certain movements to the Earth, they will immediately claim that I and my theory must be rejected .

Copernicus' ideas were considered dangerous to Christian doctrine.


The Biggest Questions of Cosmology: Pondering the Imponderables (June 2022).


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