To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.— Nicolaus Copernicus
The most empowering Nicolaus Copernicus quotes that will activate your desire to change
To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power;
to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful workings of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more grateful than knowledge.
Every light has its shadow, and every shadow hath a succeeding morning.
For I am not so enamoured of my own opinions that I disregard what others may think of them.
Nations are not ruined by one act of violence, but gradually and in an almost imperceptible manner by the depreciation of their circulating currency, through its excessive quantity.
Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe.
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• Quotes about Earth
Those things which I am saying now may be obscure, yet they will be made clearer in their proper place.
The massive bulk of the earth does indeed shrink to insignificance in comparison with the size of the heavens.
Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the earth remains at rest in the middle of the heavens as its center, would, I reflected, regard it as an insane pronouncement if I made the opposite assertion that the earth moves.
Therefore, in the course of the work I have followed this plan: I describe in the first book all the positions of the orbits together with the movements which I ascribe to the Earth, in order that this book might contain, as it were, the general scheme of the universe.
Mathematics is written for mathematicians.
I am aware that a philosopher's ideas are not subject to the judgment of ordinary persons, because it is his endeavour to seek the truth in all things, to the extent permitted to human reason by God.
Moreover, since the sun remains stationary, whatever appears as a motion of the sun is really due rather to the motion of the earth.
The earth together with its surrounding waters must in fact have such a shape as its shadow reveals, for it eclipses the moon with the arc of a perfect circle.
At rest, however, in the middle of everything is the sun.
In so many and such important ways, then, do the planets bear witness to the earth's mobility.
I can easily conceive, most Holy Father, that as soon as some people learn that in this book which I have written concerning the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, I ascribe certain motions to the Earth, they will cry out at once that I and my theory should be rejected.
Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe.
All this is suggested by the system of procession of events and the harmony of the whole Universe, if only we face the facts, as they say, "with eyes wide open."
So far as hypotheses are concerned, let no one expect anything certain from astronomy, which cannot furnish it, lest he accept as the truth ideas conceived for another purpose, and depart from this study a greater fool than when he entered it.
So, influenced by these advisors and this hope, I have at length allowed my friends to publish the work, as they had long besought me to do.
Therefore I would not have it unknown to Your Holiness, the the only thing which induced me to look for another way of reckoning the movements of the heavenly bodies was that I knew that mathematicians by no means agree in their investigation thereof.
I shall now recall to mind that the motion of the heavenly bodies is circular, since the motion appropriate to a sphere is rotation in a circle.
If there should chance to be any mathematicians who, ignorant in mathematics yet pretending to skill in that science, should dare, upon the authority of some passage of Scripture wrested to their purpose, to condemn and censure my hypothesis, I value them not, and scorn their inconsiderate judgement. De Revolutionibus Coelestibus
The scorn which I had reason to fear on account of the novelty and unconventionality of my opinion almost induced me to abandon completely the work which I had undertaken. . . . Astronomy is written for astronomers. To them my work too will seem, unless I am mistaken, to make some contribution.
Therefore, having obtained the opportunity from these sources, I too began to consider the mobility of the earth.
Therefore, when I considered this carefully, the contempt which I had to fear because of the novelty and apparent absurdity of my view, nearly induced me to abandon utterly the work I had begun.
We regard it as a certainty that the earth, enclosed between poles, is bounded by a spherical surface.
For it is the duty of an astronomer to compose the history of the celestial motions through careful and expert study.
In the midst of all dwells the Sun. For who could set this luminary in another or better place in this most glorious temple, than whence he can at one and the same time brighten the whole.
Of all things visible, the highest is the heaven of the fixed stars.
For when a ship is floating calmly along, the sailors see its motion mirrored in everything outside, while on the other hand they suppose that they are stationary, together with everything on board. In the same way, the motion of the earth can unquestionably produce the impression that the entire universe is rotating.
For a traveler going from any place toward the north, that pole of the daily rotation gradually climbs higher, while the opposite pole drops down an equal amount.
Astronomy is written for astronomers
Although all the good arts serve to draw man's mind away from vices and lead it toward better things, this function can be more fully performed by this art, which also provides extraordinary intellectual pleasure.
Pouring forth its seas everywhere, then, the ocean envelops the earth and fills its deeper chasms.
In first place we must observe that the universe is spherical.
This is either because that figure is the most perfect, as not being articulated, but whole and complete in itself; or because it is the most capacious and therefore best suited for that which is to contain and preserve all things.
First of all, we must note that the universe is spherical.
Perhaps there will be prattlers who, although completely ignorant of mathematics, nevertheless take it upon themselves to pass judgment on mathematical questions, and on account of some passage in Scripture, badly distorted to their purpose, will dare to censure and assail what I have presented here.
The strongest affection and utmost zeal should, I think, promote the studies concerned with the most beautiful objects, most deserving to be known.
We are taught all this [the motion of the earth on its axis and around the sun] by the order of succession, in which those phenomena (various planetary happenings) follow each other, and by the harmony of the world, if we will only, as the saying goes, look at the matter with both eyes.
More stars in the north are seen not to set, while in the south certain stars are no longer seen to rise.
Not a few other very eminent and scholarly men made the same request, urging that I should no longer through fear refuse to give out my work for the common benefit of students of Mathematics.
The earth also is spherical, since it presses upon its center from every direction.
Yet if anyone believes that the earth rotates, surely he will hold that its motion is natural, not violent.
Not only the phenomena of the others followed from this, but also it so bound together both the order and magnitude of all the planets and the spheres and the heaven itself, that in no single part could one thing be altered without confusion among the other parts and in all the universe.
Mathemata mathematicis scribuntur Mathematics is written for mathematicians De Revolutionibus
Accordingly, since nothing prevents the earth from moving, I suggest that we should now consider also whether several motions suit it, so that it can be regarded as one of the planets. For, it is not the center of all the revolutions.
The Universe, wrought for us by a supremely good and orderly Creator.
Yet the widespread planetary theories, advanced by Ptolemy and most other astronomers, although consistent with the numerical data, seemed likewise to present no small difficulty. For these theories were not adequate unless they also conceived certain equalizing circles, which made the planet appear to move at all times with uniform velocity neither on its deferent sphere nor about its own epicycle's center.
When, therefore, I had long considered this uncertainty of traditional mathematics, it began to weary me that no more definite explanation of the movement of the world-machine established in our behalf by the best and most systematic builder of all, existed among the philosophers who had studied so exactly in other respects the minutest details in regard to the sphere.