A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time


Stephen Hawking

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Nicolas Copernicus Character Analysis

A Polish priest, Copernicus suggested a simpler model of the universe in 1514, when he argued that the planets, including the earth, orbit the sun. Previously, it has been thought the earth was at the center of the universe, as per the teachings of Aristotle, Ptolemy, and the church. He published his work anonymously to avoid being called a heretic.

Nicolas Copernicus Quotes in A Brief History of Time

The A Brief History of Time quotes below are all either spoken by Nicolas Copernicus or refer to Nicolas Copernicus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of A Brief History of Time published in 1988.
Chapter 1 Quotes

As far as Kepler was concerned, elliptical orbits were merely an ad hoc hypothesis, and a rather repugnant one at that, because ellipses were clearly less perfect than circles. […] he could not reconcile them with his idea that the planets were made to orbit the sun by magnetic forces.

Related Characters: Nicolas Copernicus (speaker), Sir Isaac Newton
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

The Catholic Church had made a bad mistake with Galileo when it tried to lay down the law on a question of science, declaring that the sun went round the earth. Now, centuries later, it had decided to invite a number of experts to advise it on cosmology.

Related Characters: Galileo Galilei, Nicolas Copernicus
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nicolas Copernicus Character Timeline in A Brief History of Time

The timeline below shows where the character Nicolas Copernicus appears in A Brief History of Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Nicholas Copernicus, a Polish priest, proposed a simpler model in 1514, publishing anonymously at first to avoid... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...earth and have very complicated journeys that also cause them to appear to orbit Jupiter—but Copernicus’s idea was simpler. Kepler added the idea that orbits could be elongated, not perfectly circular,... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...boundary to the universe was thrown out along with Ptolemy’s celestial spheres, replaced with the Copernican model. Thus, the new assumption was that the fixed stars were not so fixed after... (full context)