How Toruń celebrated the 550th birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus, the man who „stopped the Sun and moved the Earth”, a Polish astronomer and mathematician, was born on February 19, 1473, in Toruń. He is known today as a father of modern astronomy, as he was the first European scientist to propose that Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun.

This year marks the 550th anniversary of the birth of the great astronomer. On this occasion, dozens of scientific, cultural, educational and sports events appeared in Toruń. The birthday party under the slogan „Copernicus Party” was one of the main points of the anniversary celebrations. The inhabitants of Toruń met for a joint celebration at the Old Town Square. The event began with a spectacular parade with the participation of a 4-meter tall statue of the most outstanding citizen of Toruń.

Copernicus studied liberal arts, including astronomy and astrology, at the University of Cracow (today’s Jagiellonian University); however, he did not complete his degree.

He was sent to study canon law in Bologna, Italy, by his uncle, who hoped for a different career path for his nephew. Copernicus nonetheless preferred to spend his time studying astrology, which resulted in him failing again to graduate with a degree.

He finally received his doctorate in canon law a few years later and returned to Poland, although in his free time, he dedicated himself to scholarly pursuits. Copernicus’ astronomical observations were made with the naked eye as the invention of the telescope would not occur for decades after his death.

His heliocentric theory revolutionised contemporary science and had a significant impact on the future world of science. He wrote a short manuscript with the basis for his sun-centred theory, which, unfortunately, was not published until 1543, after his death.

To honour the memory of the most remarkable Polish scientist, the National Copernican Program was launched on the 550th anniversary of his birth. The World Copernicus Congress was officially inaugurated in Toruń and was held from February 19 to 21, 2023, where the presentation of vocations to the Secretary General and members of the chambers of the Copernican Academy took place.

It is attended by 700 researchers and experts, including five Nobel Prize winners.

 

The first Copernican Awards for outstanding achievements was presented during this First World Copernican Congress. The second day of the World Copernican Congress began with presentations by invited Nobel Prize winners.

The new Copernican Academy is an institution that will integrate Polish scientists worldwide and support their scientific activities. Managed by scientists from all over the world, it will facilitate the implementation of the main goal of the new institution, which is to strengthen the position of Polish science in the international arena.

Image: Twitter @torunpl

Author: Patrycja Bodzek-Kurzyńska

Additional materials to use: YouTube mojTorun

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