Historical Astronomers in Context

Nicholas Copernicus was born in 1473 and died in 1543.

Copernicus was one of the first “modern day” astronomers and his work changed the way that scientist of his time viewed the solar system. His most notable work involved proposing a model of the solar system. This model suggested that earth was revolving around the sun, the opposite of what had been believed up until this point. His model was not 100% correct, however it re-framed the way that many astronomers and scientists viewed our solar system.

Two other major historical events that happened within Copernicus’s lifetime were the invention of the pocket watch in 1500 and Christopher Columbus discovering the new world in 1492. The pocket watch was a revolutionary invention as it allowed anybody who could afford it, the ability to tell the time at any instance. It also looked very classy, especially with a nice chain. Christopher Columbus discovering the new world is obviously an important historical event as they teach it in every history class. His discovery led to the developments that now make the Americas what they are, for better or for worse.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1520) also lived during this time period. Da Vinci was important as his artistic ability spoke volumes to the population at large as well as the church. His paintings of the Last Supper, Mona Lisa, and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel all took place within the years 1495-1512. Every one of these pieces carries immense historical significance and are still talked about to this day.

Learning about this context was interesting as you often learn about every impactful historical figure separately, but not usually all together. The ability that humans have, the capability that humans have for discovery, invention, and beauty is overwhelming. When looking at a timeline from the past of major events, it seems impossible to condense as there are always meaning events to point to, learn from, and change the way that humans will exist in the future.

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