The Kopernik Society was founded in 1973 to commemorate
the 500th anniversary of Mikolaj Kopernik, the great Polish astronomer
regarded as one of history's foremost scientists, whose startling heliocentric
theory transformed man's concept of the universe. To honor the genius
of "The Father of Modern Astronomy," the Society decided to build a living
memorial: a remarkable astronomical observatory on one of the area's highest
hills in Vestal, New York. The Kopernik Observatory was dedicated
and donated to the Roberson Center for the Arts & Sciences and to the
people of Broome County in June 1974. In the years since, the Society
has maintained an active interest in the Kopernik Observatory and has worked
and contributed to help make it not only the largest public observatory
in New York State, but the best equipped. The effort of "creative
ethnicity," in the words of David Bernstein, editor of the Press &
Sun Bulletin, has enabled thousands of area children and adults to learn
about the wonders of the universe. The Kopernik Observatory, with
broad community support, has now become the Kopernik Space Education Center
- a state-of-the-art training center off national significance.
The Kopemik Society simultaneously works toward another objective the preservation of the rich Polish heritage and culture. To this end it sponsors many exhibits, workshops, and cultural and educational programs. The Society introduced to the people of this area many outstanding performing arts groups from Poland. With the intention of giving the youth of the community an opportunity to learn and appreciate the color and beauty of Polish dances, the Society founded the Kopernik Polish Folk Dancers in 1976.
The Kopernik Society also devotes itself to the improvement of the quality of life in our area by contributing to many worthwhile causes and by being actively involved in community affairs.