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Copernicus quotes

1473 - 1543, Renaissance astronomer

Near the sun is the center of the universe.

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.

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.

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.

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.

If perchance there should be foolish speakers who, together with those ignorant of all
mathematics, will take it upon themselves to decide concerning these things, and because of
some place in the scriptures wickedly distorted to their purpose, should dare to assail this my
work, they are of no importance to me, to such an extent do I despise their judgment as

Mathematics is written for mathematicians.

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.

Seek the truth in all things, in so far as God has granted that to human reason.

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.

For I am not so enamored of my own opinions that I disregard what others may think of them.

For it is the duty of an astronomer to compose the history of the celestial motions through
careful and expert study.

Hence I feel no shame in asserting that this whole region engirdled by the moon, and the
center of the earth, traverse this grand circle amid the rest of the planets in an annual
revolution around the sun. Near the sun is the center of the universe. Moreover, since the
sun remains stationary, whatever appears as a motion of the sun is really due rather to the
motion of the earth.

In so many and such important ways, then, do the planets bear witness to the earth's mobility.