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Nicolaus Copernicus: the restorer of astronomy

Date: 11.05.2023 - 30.06.2023
Place: The Jagiellonian Library Conference Room (entrance from 3 Oleandry St.)
Organiser: Jagiellonian Library
Nicolaus Copernicus: the restorer of astronomy

The Polish Parliament has established 2023 as the Year of Nicolaus Copernicus. It marks three important anniversaries related to the eminent astronomer - the 550th anniversary of his birth, the 480th anniversary of his death, and the 480th anniversary of the first edition of his work De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.

In order to celebrate this occasion, from May 11 to June 30, 2023, the Jagiellonian Library will host an exhibition dedicated to one of the most illustrious alumni of the Jagiellonian University, who became one of the greatest astronomers in the history of the world.

While his life was extremely rich and colourful (truly Renaissance-like), he went down in history thanks to his rather unimpressive looking book published 480 years ago. This influential work and its content form the core of our exhibition. The manuscript of De revolutionibus and its first three editions (Nuremberg 1543, Basel 1566, and Amsterdam 1617) will be shown in the context of the Copernican breakthrough and its repercussions in astronomy, science, and philosophy. The exhibition presents primarily a history of Copernicus' heliocentric concept, while the astronomer's biography, embedded within the history of the university and astronomy, forms its background. The exhibition is divided into three parts focusing respectively on pre-Copernican astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus's opus magnum, and the reception of his theory.

We hope that this jubilee exhibition will not only encourage visitors to improve their knowledge of the scientific and philosophical revolution sparked off by the work of Nicolaus Copernicus but also provide inspiration to look up more often at the starry sky and appreciate its everlasting beauty.

In the hall of the Jagiellonian Library, there is a concurrent poster exhibition "Of all the books, the most worthy of reading... On ‘De revolutionibus’ of Nicolaus Copernicus". Created under the guidance of the Nicolaus Copernicus University Library in Toruń, it is dedicated to the copies of first edition of De Revolutionibus. While 277 such copies in total have been preserved to this day, fourteen of them belong to the collections of Polish libraries in Krakow, Poznań, Wrocław, Toruń, Warsaw, Kórnik, and Płock.

Exhibition open from May 11th  through June 30th, 2023

  • May

Mon. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  • June

Mon. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  • The autograph of ‘De revolutionibus’ by Copernicus will be available for viewing for only six days:

11.05 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
12.05 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
13.05 (Saturday) 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
24, 25, 26.05 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

  • May 25th - a guided tour of the exhibition for interested participants of the Congress. 

On May 25th at 6:00 p.m. in the Conference Room of the Jagiellonian Library, a lecture by Prof. Zdzisław Pietrzyk on the manuscript of De revolutionibus titled "But it survived - a few words about the history of the autograph of Nicolaus Copernicus De revolutionibus". The lecture will be in Polish.