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What did Copernicus discover?

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Quick Answer

Copernicus discovered that the planets revolved around the sun, rather than around the Earth. Called the heliocentric model of the solar system, the concept was at odds with the conventional wisdom of the time, which held that all heavenly bodies rotated around the Earth.

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Full Answer

Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer and mathematician. He published his findings in his cornerstone work, “On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres.” Published in 1543, shortly before his death, the book’s central thesis represented a radical departure from the prevailing understanding of the world and universe. Many historians and scientists consider the book to be one of the world’s most important scientific publications of all time.

Despite the fact that Copernicus’s work was well known to educated Europeans long before his book was published, there was no immediate backlash against his controversial theory. However, decades later, the Catholic Church began pushing back on Galileo, and sought to destroy the heliocentric model discovered by Copernicus.

Copernicus did not limit his genius to astronomy. For most of his life, he was an economist or physician. However, he also worked as a diplomat, translator and governor, among other professions. He described a quantum theory of money in 1517, which is still a part of economic analysis.

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