A few men have contributed a great deal to the study of astronomy (and by implication, science, in general). They have served as inspirations, scientific muses of sorts, for me. I want to describe the life and work of Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton in this post.
Nicolaus Copernicus studied both mathematics and astronomy first at Krakow in his native Poland and later at the Italian universities of Bologna and Padua. His book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres greatly inspired me to question authority and to believe in whatever I want to. Copernicus brought about the idea of a heliocentric theory, and brought new questions to where God's location was in the universe. This made me really think on how I should present my ideas and how significant I can change people's lives.
Tycho Brahe, the Danish nobleman who bulid the elaborate Uraniborg castle was a great observer as he patiently observed the the positions and movements of stars, keeping a record of them. Brahe had the most accurate observations of that time period. As he kept observing, later in Prague, he took on a new assistant named Johannes Kepler, another one of the most influencial scientists as he published the laws of planetary motion, a big step in science.
Galileo Galilei was one of the most influential to me, and brought astronomy to the next level with his invention of the telescope. He basically made all the discoveries and is strongly admired even right now. The only thing missing with Galileo was the concept of motion, which one of my favorite scientists solved, Newton.
Isaac Newton was definately one of the most significant scientists to any time period in history. He found the one universal law of gravitation which could explain all motions in the universe. He found everything from the movements of planets in the celestial world to an falling from a tree in the terrestrial world. Newton's ideas definately dominated the Western worldview and were widely accepted.