Domenico Maria Novara da Ferrara
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Domenico Maria Novara
|Born||29 July or 1 August 1454|
|Died||15 August or 18 August 1504|
|Notable students||Nicolaus Copernicus|
Born in Ferrara, for 21 years he was professor of astronomy at the University of Bologna, and in 1500 he also lectured in mathematics at Rome. He was notable as a Platonist astronomer, and in 1496 he taught Nicolaus Copernicus astronomy. He was also an astrologer, perhaps for financial gain, as was common at the time.
Copernicus had started out as Novara's student and then became his assistant and co-worker. Novara in turn declared that his teacher had been the famous astronomer Regiomontanus, who was once a pupil of Georg Purbach. Novara was initially educated in Florence, at the time a major center of Neoplatonism. He studied there under Luca Pacioli, a friend of Leonardo da Vinci.
Novara's writings are largely lost, except for a few astrological almanacs written for the university. But Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (published in 1543, long after Novara's death) records that on 9 March 1497 Novara witnessed Copernicus' first observation. Both men were described as "free minds and free souls," and Novara believed that his findings would have shaken Ptolemy's "unshakable" geocentric system.
Novara died in 1504 at Bologna.
- A. Romer, "The welcoming of Copernicus's de revolutionibus: The commentariolus and its reception" Physics in Perspective, 1(2): 157-183, 1999.