Copernicus in Warsaw

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Today is our first day in Warsaw! My wife, my son, my daughter and me are going to visit Poland for twelve days and I am sure that the mathematical tourist is going to see a lot of things!

This morning we have been in the city centre and we have walked through Krakowskie Przedmiescie and Nicolas Copernicus was there! His natural position is the middle of Copernicus square which is called with his name and he is rounded by his heliocentric system:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

We can read in wikipedia:

Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik ; German: Nikolaus Kopernikus; 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a heliocentric model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center.

Portrait, 1580, Toruń Old Town City Hall Source: Wikimedia Commons

The publication of Copernicus’ book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), just before his death in 1543, is considered a major event in the history of science. It began the Copernican Revolution and contributed importantly to the scientific revolution.

Copernicus was born and died in Royal Prussia, a region of the Kingdom of Poland since 1466. Copernicus had a doctorate in canon law and, though without degrees, was a physician, polyglot, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat, and economist who in 1517 set down a quantity theory of money, a principal concept in economics to the present day, and formulated a version of Gresham’s law in 1519, before Gresham.

The bronze statue was designed by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (c.1770-1844) in 1822 and was completed eight years later. The phiolosopher Stanislaw Staszic (1755-1826) made important donations for erecting it in Torun because he knew that Napoleon was very surprised for not finding a monument dedicated to the Polish astronomer in his birthplace.

The inscription says “To Nicolas Copernicus [from a] grateful nation” in Latin and Polish although during the German occupation of Poland in 1944, the inscription was translated to German saying “To Nicolaus Copernicus [from] the German Nation”.


Photography by Carlos Dorce

In 2007, Copernicus’ solar system was represented rounding him representing an image from his revolutionary De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (1543).

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The statue is in front of Staszic Palace (1620), the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1967, a bronze replica was erected in Chaboillez Square in Montreal during the World’s Fair:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In 1973, on the 500th anniversary of Copernicus’ birth, another bronze replica was installed in front of Adler Planetarium in Chicago:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Location in Warsaw: map

Location in Montreal: map

Location in Chicago: map

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