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Copernicus Statue

One of Poland’s most famous sons is honored here, symbolizing both his contributions to science and the Polish community’s contributions to the city of Chicago.

The Nicolaus Copernicus Statue, a celebration of science and immigration, is a suitable figure to grace Chicago’s Museum Campus. Copernicus, a 16th-century mathematician and astronomer best known for mathematically proving that the sun does not revolve around Earth, was from Poland, a country whose people have shaped the history and present of Chicago. 

Based on a 19th-century statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen, the bronze-and-stone sculpture depicting Copernicus seated and looking at the sky was installed in 1971, the 500th anniversary of his birth. View the statue before a visit to Adler Planetarium or simply to celebrate Chicago’s Polish residents. Look for a statue of legendary Polish general Thaddeus Kosciuszko nearby as well.

Approach the statue down the land bridge linking Northerly Island to Chicago’s mainland, letting the bronze figure slowly come into focus against the majestic dome of Adler Planetarium. As you arrive, take a moment to walk all the way around to appreciate the fine craftsmanship of the cast bronze. Look up at the face, which seems to look beyond you to ponder the sky and stars. 

Observe the armillary sphere in his left hand, a symbol of his struggles to introduce the heliocentric model to the religious and scientific establishment of the Renaissance. Imagine yourself in the 16th century, first exposed to Copernicus’ revolutionary ideas and consider how you would react. Picture the calculations he made and the discussions he had. Imagine a world without Copernicus, where the sun was still believed to revolve around Earth. 

Join Chicago’s Polish community as they celebrate and recall Copernicus’ vast achievements.

Located in front of the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum on Chicago’s Northerly Island, the Copernicus Statue is a 15-minute walk from the entrance to Museum Campus. Drive to the planetarium and the statue in 10 minutes from downtown Chicago or in half an hour from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. From Millennium Park, take public transportation to reach the statue in 30 minutes. Parking is available in nearby metered lots, as well as on the street. The statue is available for viewing all day every day.


Guide to Exploring Copernicus Statue


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