Copernicus studied in the Collegius maius between 1491 and 1495. On the list of 69 students matriculated in 1491 at the Cracok Academy were “Nicolaus Nicolai de Thuronia” and aslso his brother “Andreas Nicolai”. The Jagiellonian University consisted offour faculties at the time (the Theological Faculty, the Canonical La Faculty, the Medical Faculty and the Liberal Arts Faculty). Copernicus began his studies learning the grammar of Latin, poetry and rhetoric but he early started to attend lectures on Euclidean geometry and astronomy. During the 15th and early 16th centuries, the University gained importance in Central Europe as a scientific center due to the high level of astronomical and mathematical sciences: the distinguished professors of the time included Marcin Hrol (c.1422-c.1453), Wojciech of Brudzewo (1445-1495), Jan of Glogow (c.1445-1507) and Maciej of Miechow (1453-1523). In the second semester of 1493 he attended lectures of Jerzy Peürbach, with the comments of Wojciech of Brudzewo, and the lectures about Aristotle’s De Caelo. It’s unknown when Copernicus brothers finished their studies n Cracow but they surely didn’t receive their degrees. Perhaps their mother’s death in 1495 caused their return to Prussia.
Thus one of the required mathematical visits that must be done in Cracow is this College:
The building hosts an interesting museum with a lot of old objects which are not directly related to the College but I must recognize that it’s possible to imagine how the academical life was in the 15th century. The first room is a big hall full of shelves with books, statutes, quadrants, portraits, maps and spheres:
Everything takes you back to a ‘kitsch’ Renaissance:
There is space for our Copernicus, of course,…:
…and also for Galileo:
There is a special small room dedicated exclusively to Copernicus with astrolabes, charts, books and copies of some interesting documents:
For example, look at this interesting torquetum made by Hans Dorn in 1480 (the astrolabe was also made by Dorn in 1486)…:
…or this portrait of Kepler from the 18th century:
Furthermore, a bust of Isaac Newton…
… is on the top of the door through which you enter a room full of astronomical and mathematical instruments:
Can you see this little Aechimedes screw?
Before ending the visit, Newton (again!) says goodgye to the visitors in a very modern picture:
And Kepler too!
One thing more… Go to the ticket office and you will see some mathematical objects more like these English Napier Rods from the 17th century:
Location: Collegius Maius (map)
We were coming back to our apartment and… another Copernicus! How many Copernicus are in Poland? This is made with 100 kg of chocolate and it must be the sweetest one. It was in the ancent Royal Pharmacy and current Cukierna Sowa:
The Royal Pharmacy
Here was the oldest pharmacy in Torun, established in the 14th century by Arnold, an apothecary from Wroclaw. In 1652 the pharmacy was granted the name “The Royal Pharmacy”. A figure of an eagle was placed over the door in the 18th century. From then on it has been called “The Pharmacy under the Eagle”.
It was a nice present before leaving Torun!
Location: Cukierna Sowa in Torun (map)
There is another monument of Copernicus in Torun designed by Wiktor Brodzki (1817-1904) in 1871. It is inside the Old Town Hall and you can see it in the main entrance of the museum housed there. So, enjoy it! One more monument for the collection!
Location: Old Town Hall in Torun (map)
The first monument to Hevelius built in Gdansk was initiative of TPD club Neptune of Gdansk and it was possible because of the donation of the citizens in 1973. The author was Michael Gąsienica Szostak and the monument was moved to the green square in front of the hotel Mercure Gdańsk Old Town (formerly Hotel Hevelius) in 2004.
Location: Monument to Hevelius (map)
In a previous post I began to talk about this museum located inside Frombork castle. You can learn almost everything about him, his life and his works on medicine, economies and, of course, astronomy, including the replicas of his instruments (we saw them also in Warsaw). For example, it’s possible to see some facsmile editions of his works and also a recreation of his desk:
Among the references about his publication of his works, we can find this engraving showing Copernicus in a lecture for the Cracovian scientists in 1509:
Or this other wonderful one (1873) with Copernicus in he middle of the picture talking about his heliocentric system:
How proud he is of his heliocentric theory!
And who are his guests? First of all, Hipparcus (with the armillar spher) and Ptolemy (with his geocentric system) are listening the theory which will finish theirs. Ptolemy looks askance at Tycho Brahe meanwhile Newton is looking at Laplace:
Galileo Galilei is behind Copernicus looking at him with great reverence:
And Hevelius, the other great Polish astronomer, agrees Copernicus’ theories although he never had the telescope to check them.
Finally, Johannes Kepler seems to be bored of listening this obvious theory although his ellipses will be the curves which will change the astronomy.
A beautiful picture for a beautiful museum. Next step: the cathedral!
Location: Frombork castle (map)
My trip to Poland and Praghe finished yesterday and I remember that in my first post about the Museum of Technology of Warsaw I didn’t talk about the astronomical room in the second floor of the museum. It has some telescopes, reproductions of satellites and a lot of information about the space and we can also find the corner dedicated to Copernicus and his De Revolutionibus Oribium Coelestium and Hevelius.
There are three reproductions of Copernicus’s astronomical instruments which we can imagine in the hands of this Polish astronomer. First of all, the armillary sphere…
…the paralactic triangle (triquetum) for measuring the angular heigh of the Moon…
… and the solar quadrant used by Copernicus in 1510-1520 in order to watch the Sun:
Johannes Hevelius’ instruments are represented by some old images…
…and there is a representation of his observatory in Gdansk:
This is one of the Top 10 Museums in Prague! The museum was founded in 1908 and has been in its current location since 1941. It’s a very big building and the collection exhibited is so big although the exhibition about transports is its main attraction:
But for me, the exhibition about Astronomy has been the interesting part of the museum and I have been able to visit it on my own meanwhile my children were playing in another room with some technical toys. The astronomical rooms are very dark so it has been very difficult to take good pictures although I’ve tried to do my best. The collections has sundials, armilar spheres, quadrants, astrolabes,… and a lot of other astronomical instruments:
For example, the polyhedrical sundials are so beautiful like this constructed on a cube by German David Beringer around 1750:
Or… what about this other constructed by Mathias Karl Krausler in 1691?
The oldest exhibited astrolabe is this unsigned one from around 1450:
And there also is an unsigned torquetum from the late 16th century:
One of the instruments which have surprised me has been Joost Bürgi’s sextant for measuring the angles of celestial bodies (I knew that Bürgi, one of the inventor of logarithms, had constructed a lot of clocks and astronomical instruments but I didn’t expect to find one here!). Kepler used it to measure two consecutive oppositions of the planet Mars in 1602 and 1604.
There also is Habermel’s sextant, built by Erasmus Habermel (1538 – 15th of November of 1606 in Prag) who was mechanic at the court of Emperor Rudolph II:
The prevailing opinion for a long time was that the instrument belonged to Brahe and so it was called the “Tychonian sextant”.
Habermel was specialised in small devices and portable sundials and one example is this sundial in the form of a book (c.1600)…
… and another is this equinoctial sundial (1585):
Finally, look at this armilar sphere from the second half of the 16th century! It’s a piece of art!
Copernicus’ house was built in the 14th/15th century in the Gothic style of the Hanseatic towns. It has a high entrance hall with an open kitchen on the ground floor and the merchant’s office. The rooms are upstairs.
The building was the property of Copernicus’ family in the years 1463-1480 and it may well be here that he was born in 1473. In an old picture it’s possible to see Napoleon Bonaparte walking in front of the present Copernicus Street nr 40. Till the end of the 19th century there was the wrong opinion that Copernicus had been born there although it seems to be the present numbers 15 and 17 the right houses. In the end of the 15th century, Copernicus’ father owned these three houses and another one in 36 and 37 Old Market Square.
Nowadays, there is a restaurant in 40 Copernicus Street…
…and a new building is a department store (“Dom Towarowy”):
The interior of the house (17 Copernicus Street) is reconstructed and the imagination is the only way to see Copernicus familiy in it.
The museum is full of portraits (I’m going to write another post about them!), the replicas of the instruments, scultures about the heliocentric system… and information about Copernicus’ life and works. For example, here you have a very modern design for Copernicus’ office:
And the room dedicated to his De Revolutionibus:
Finally, hthe replicas of Copernicus’ instruments:
A few days ago I went to Frombork where Copernicus died and today I’ve been in the house where he was born. I’ve been in Olsztyn too so… what about going to Krakow where he studied? Thus… next step: Krakow!
Location: Copernicus’ house in Torun (map)
I’m in Torun, the place where Copernicus was born in 1473.
On 19 February 1839, twelve citizens of Torun were designed to promote a monument to Copernicus to conmemorate his birthday. The collection of donations was approved some months later. The monument was designed by Christian Friedrich Tieck (1776-1851).
The statue was erected in 1853 and represents Copernicus pointing at the sky with an armillar sphere in his hands. The inscription of the pedestal was drawn up by Alexander von Humboldt: “Nicolaus Copernicus Thorunensis, terrae motor, solis caelique stator” (“Nicolaus Copernicus of Thorun, mover of the Earth, stopper of the Sun and heavens”). In the other side: “Natus anno 1473, obiit anno 1543”.
Of course, this is the monument in which everybody wants to take a picture!
Here you have an old postcard from the begining of the 20th century:
Location: monument to Nicolaus Copernicus in Torun (map)
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:
We can read in wikipedia:
Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik (help·info); 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.
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”.
In 2007, Copernicus’ solar system was represented rounding him representing an image from his revolutionary De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (1543).
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:
In 1973, on the 500th anniversary of Copernicus’ birth, another bronze replica was installed in front of Adler Planetarium in Chicago:
Location in Warsaw: map
Location in Montreal: map
Location in Chicago: map