Nicolaus Copernicus (or Coepernicus) (1473 – 1543 CE) was a Polish polymath who was, incidentally, an astronomer. Coepernicus took up an idea originally by Aristarchus and Nicholas of Cusa   Although his book De Revolutionibus only provoked mild controversy (he feared putting a bug up the Roman Catholic Church's ass by suggesting that the Earth was not the center of the universe) and promoting heliocentrism, he was so concerned about how it would affect the Church that he delayed publication. Rumour has it that a copy of his finally published work was put in his hands on his death bed. Sixty years later it was banned as part of the "Galileo affair". However, astronomers and navigators were quick to adopt the Prutenic Tables based upon his work because, whether blasphemy or not, they worked better than the existing tables. And that's how science works!
In the past couple years, Copernicus has given his name to element 112, now called "copernicium".