Project Description



NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS is an academic portal devoted to Nicolaus Copernicus and available at from 19 February 2010. The project has been developed through the collaborative efforts of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, the City of Toruń and the Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences.

NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS is the portal where you will find Copernicus' written legacy, accessible in a digitized ARCHIVE of his original handwritten manuscripts, accompanied by transcriptions of his Latin and translations into Polish. A digital LIBRARY enables you to access both older and contemporary publications on Copernicus' life and his works, as well as articles written especially for this project by several noted academics. The wide range of texts made available to you cover such areas as Copernicus' BIOGRAPHY, both private and professional, his broad interests in various fields of SCIENCE, the changing fortunes of his DISCOVERY and how his work was received across the centuries. In the GALLERY you will find a rich collection of portraits, works of art, documentary and animated films featuring the astronomer himself, the places with which he was connected, and the sites, buildings or objects that in the past or even today carry his name.

Professionally developed, the NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS portal is the first comprehensive resource of information and materials on Copernicus to be made publicly available on the Internet. The portal designers have managed to gather in just one place a wealth of archival materials, books, works of art from the present and the past, and even everyday products related to the astronomer and his time, otherwise scattered among archive, library and museum collections in Poland and elsewhere. The carefully selected contributors include both Polish and foreign academics, popularizers of science, passionate lovers of history and astronomy, and great admirers of Copernicus himself. Their professionalism and experience guarantee the reliability of the content presented on

Our portal is targeted at a wide range of users searching for information on the life of Copernicus, the fields of knowledge he explored, his great discoveries and their impact on the subsequent advancement of civilization. The long-term aim of the NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS portal therefore is to become an on-line encyclopaedia to be used by school and university students, researchers and all others interested in the content available. The English version of the portal (launched in the first half of 2010) will make it all available worldwide.


The Portal NICOLAUS COPERNIUS THORUNENSIS portal has been developed by professionals - researchers as well as library and museum specialists with extensive experience in popularizing the content thematically linked to the life and work of Copernicus. Furthermore, a whole team of experienced IT specialists and top class artists have developed the portal into a reliable, attractive and user-friendly resource of information on Copernicus. NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS gives everyone a chance to take an intellectual trip through various fields of science and art and have a look at original writings left by Copernicus.

The portal is open to the entire Internet community. Among many factors contributing to its prospective popularity with students and enthusiasts whose interest in Copernicus is not professional undoubtedly are the accessible narrative style of the articles published, the large number of illustrations included and, last but not least, its attractive graphic design. The provides access also to materials which researchers and educators might find useful for their work. These are manuscripts and publications of Copernicus' writings as well as a wealth of academic and popular science articles on Copernicus' life and work and other related topics.


The NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS portal is divided into six modules:
  • BIOGRAPHY contains information on the life of Copernicus: his social background, childhood days spent in Toruń, university studies in Krakow and Italy and adult years spent in Warmia - in Lidzbark, Olsztyn and Frombork. The BIOGRAPHY section includes additional information on controversies surrounding both his birthplace and his private life as well.
  • SCIENCE AND DISCOVERY is a section devoted to Copernicus' interests in various fields of science - mainly in astronomy, but also in economics, medicine, cartography and the art of translation. The articles specially commissioned for the portal present a historical overview of the advancement in those areas of science, starting from ancient times until the Middle Ages. Abounding in articles, illustrations and spectacular animations, the SCIENCE AND DISCOVERY section offers a detailed account of pre-Copernican cosmological beliefs, instruments used by the great astronomer and his works on the heliocentric theory.
  • COPERNICAN REVOLUTION includes richly illustrated texts on the significance of the Copernican theory for the subsequent development of civilization. This section offers an insight into the reception of the Copernican theory in the modern world and its importance for the development of both the sciences, especially astronomy and cosmology, and the humanities. The COPERNICAN REVOLUTION section presents post-Copernican cosmological concepts and the history of astronomy from the time of Copernicus to the twentieth century.
  • ARCHIVES includes photocopies of Copernicus' writings supplemented by transcriptions of his Latin, translations into Polish and professional commentaries. Among other documents, the ARCHIVES contains Copernicus' manuscript of De revolutionibus, his writings on economic issues, medical prescriptions, letters and administrative documents Copernicus drafted himself.
  • LIBRARY offers access to digitized collections of books, magazines and documents related to Nicolaus Copernicus' social background, the significance and reception of his discoveries and the history of the fields of science in which he took special interest. The LIBRARY contains early and recently published scientific and popular works written in different languages.
  • GALLERY contains extensive illustrative material from the collection of the Regional Museum in Toruń, the NCU University Library, the Regional Public Library - Nicolaus Copernicus Library in Toruń, the Jagiellonian University Museum and private collections. The GALLERY collection includes a variety of prints, paintings, statues, sculptures, early and recent medals, postage stamps and coins all portraying Nicolaus Copernicus. The GALLERY also offers a collection of illustrations featuring places associated with the life and work of Copernicus, as well as objects bearing his name.


Portal NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS portal is a project jointly funded by Nicolaus Copernicus University and the City of Toruń. The Portal is managed by the Programme Board comprising the following representatives of NCU and the City of Toruń:

  • President of the Programme Board Prof. Dr hab. Krzysztof Mikulski, President of the Polish Historical Society, President of the Friends of Toruń Association
  • Vice-President of the Programme Board Prof. Dr hab. Grzegorz Jarzembski, NCU Rector's Plenipotentiary for Information Technology
  • Prof. Dr hab. Andrzej Kus, Director of the NCU Centre for Astronomy, President of the VLBI Network Consortium
  • Dr hab. Andrzej Marecki, lecturer in the NCU Department of Radio Astronomy
  • Dr hab.Teresa Borawska, NCU professor, Head of the NCU Copernican Laboratory
  • Lucjan Broniewicz, Director of Władysław Dziewulski Planetarium in Toruń
  • Dr Marek Rubnikowicz, Director of the Regional Museum in Toruń
  • mgr Paweł Piotrowicz, Manager of Municipal Services Office, the City of Toruń


All editorial work is performed by the following members of the Editorial Team:

  • Editor-in-Chief Dr Michał Targowski - NCU historian
  • Deputy Editor-in-Chief mgr Bożena Bednarek Michalska - Head of the Kujawsko-Pomorska Digital Library, an NCU librarian
  • doc. Jaroslaw Włodarczyk - historian of science, Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Dr Iwona Urbańska - Manager, Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Toruń
  • mgr Tomasz Wojciechowski - programmer, NCU IT Centre


The authors of the texts commissioned:

  • Dr. Stanislaw Bajtlik, Nicolaus Copernicus Centre for Astronomy, Academy of Sciences
  • Dr hab. Teresa Borawska, NCU professor
  • mgr Magdalena Dembek, Regional Museum in Toruń
  • Dr Ryszard W. Gryglewski, Jagiellonian University-Collegium Medicum
  • Dr Michał Kłosiński, Regional Museum in Toruń
  • doc. Michał Kokowski, Copernicus Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Prof. Janusz Małłek, NCU
  • Prof. Krzysztof Mikulski, NCU
  • Dr Iwona Paszek, NCU-Collegium Medicum
  • Dr Michał Targowski, NCU
  • Dr Iwona Urbanska, Regional Museum in Toruń
  • doc. Jarosław Włodarczyk, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Dr Leszek Zygner, NCU

Films and animations:

  • Prof. Witold Chmielewski, NCU
  • mgr Janusz Krysztop, NCU
  • mgr Matilda M. Mazur
  • mgr Jacek Janik
  • Bartosz Staszkiewicz

Graphic Design:

  • Dr Nicodemus Pręgowski, NCU

Preliminary survey of the library holdings and Digitization:

  • Nicolaus Copernicus University Library in Toruń
  • Regional Museum in Toruń
  • Regional Public Library - Copernicus Library in Toruń
  • Jagiellonian University Museum in Krakow

Programming Support - University Centre for Information Technology, NCU:

  • mgr Danuta Deka
  • mgr Radosław Kutowiński
  • mgr Artur Sikora
  • mgr Tomasz Wojciechowski


  • mgr Joanna Przewięźlikowska
  • mgr Edward Maliszewski


The Polish Academy of Sciences Institute for the History of Science is the main academic partner of this project. Collaboration with this renowned institution has enabled the portal developers to place on the NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS website material previously published by the Institute, including the latest Polish edition of Copernicus' Complete Works, some valuable items from the Studia Copernicana series and "The History of Science and Technology Quarterly".

The Programme Board has also signed partnership agreements with the following institutions:

In addition, the project has also greatly benefited from cooperation with dozens of other institutions, archives, museums and libraries in Poland, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, the UK and Italy, which provided access to reproductions of manuscripts and/or copies of Copernicus' earliest manuscripts held in their collections.


The NICOLAUS COPERNICUS THORUNENSIS portal is a long-term project. The content of individual sections is constantly under development. Our long-term target is to expand the portal by adding an educational section aimed at the youngest Internet users and primary and lower secondary teachers.

The Programme Board and the Editorial Team of the NICOLAUS COPERNICUS portal invite any institutions and individual persons interested in the content of the portal to contribute to the process of developing this professional Internet resource of information on Nicolaus Copernicus.

Nicolaus Copernicus University City of Toruń
print form
Mikołaj Kopernik
strona główna
strona główna