Johannes Kepler

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Johannes Kepler
A 1610 portrait of Johannes Kepler by an unknown artist.
A 1610 portrait of Johannes Kepler by an unknown artist.
Born December 27, 1571(1571-12-27)
Weil der Stadt near Stuttgart, Germany
Died November 15, 1630 (aged 58)
Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany
Residence Baden-Württemberg; Styria; Bohemia; Upper Austria
Fields Astronomy, astrology, mathematics and natural philosophy
Institutions University of Linz
Alma mater University of Tübingen
Known for Kepler's laws of planetary motion
Kepler conjecture
Religious stance Lutheran

Johannes Kepler (pronounced /ˈkɛplɚ/) (December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630) was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, and key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution. He is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican Astrononomy. They also provided one of the foundations for Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation.

During his career, Kepler was a mathematics teacher at a seminary school in Graz, Austria, an assistant to astronomer Tycho Brahe, the court mathematician to Emperor Rudolf II, a mathematics teacher in Linz, Austria, and an adviser to General Wallenstein. He also did fundamental work in the field of optics, invented an improved version of the refracting telescope (the Keplerian Telescope), and helped to legitimize the telescopic discoveries of his contemporary Galileo Galilei.

Kepler lived in an era when there was no clear distinction between astronomy and astrology, but there was a strong division between astronomy (a branch of mathematics within the liberal arts) and physics (a branch of natural philosophy). Kepler also incorporated religious arguments and reasoning into his work, motivated by the religious conviction that God had created the world according to an intelligible plan that is accessible through the natural light of reason.[1] Kepler described his new astronomy as "celestial physics",[2] as "an excursion into Aristotle's Metaphysics",[3] and as "a supplement to Aristotle's On the Heavens",[4] transforming the ancient tradition of physical cosmology by treating astronomy as part of a universal mathematical physics.[5]


[edit] Early years

The Great Comet of 1577, which Kepler witnessed as a child, attracted the attention of astronomers across Europe

Kepler was born on December 27, 1571, at the Free Imperial City of Weil der Stadt (now part of the Stuttgart Region in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, 30 km west of Stuttgart's center). His grandfather, Sebald Kepler, had been Lord Mayor of that town, but by the time Johannes was born, the Kepler family fortune was on the decline. His father, Heinrich Kepler, earned a precarious living as a mercenary, and he left the family when Johannes was five years old. He was believed to have died in the Eighty Years' War in the Netherlands. His mother Katharina Guldenmann, an inn-keeper's daughter, was a healer and herbalist who was later tried for witchcraft. Born prematurely, Johannes claimed to have been a weak and sickly child. He was, however, a brilliant child; he often impressed travelers at his grandfather's inn with his phenomenal mathematical faculty.[6]

He was introduced to astronomy at an early age, and developed a love for it that would span his entire life. At age six, he observed the Great Comet of 1577, writing that he "was taken by [his] mother to a high place to look at it."[7] At age nine, he observed another astronomical event, the Lunar eclipse of 1580, recording that he remembered being "called outdoors" to see it and that the moon "appeared quite red".[7] However, childhood smallpox left him with weak vision and crippled hands, limiting his ability in the observational aspects of astronomy.[8]

In 1589, after moving through grammar school, Latin school, and lower and higher seminary in the Württemberg state-run Protestant education system, Kepler began attending the University of Tübingen as a theology student, and studied philosophy under Vitus Müller[9]. He proved himself to be a superb mathematician and earned a reputation as a skillful astrologer, casting horoscopes for fellow students. Under the instruction of Michael Maestlin, he learned both the Ptolemaic system and the Copernican system of planetary motion. He became a Copernican at that time. In a student disputation, he defended heliocentrism from both a theoretical and theological perspective, maintaining that the Sun was the principal source of motive power in the universe.[10] Despite his desire to become a minister, near the end of his studies Kepler was recommended for a position as teacher of mathematics and astronomy at the Protestant school in Graz, Austria (later the University of Graz). He accepted the position in April 1594, at the age of 23.[11]

[edit] Graz (1594–1600)

[edit] Mysterium Cosmographicum

Kepler's Platonic solid model of the Solar system from Mysterium Cosmographicum (1600)

Johannes Kepler's first major astronomical work, Mysterium Cosmographicum (The Cosmographic Mystery), was the first published defense of the Copernican system. Kepler claimed to have had an epiphany on July 19, 1595, while teaching in Graz, demonstrating the periodic conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the zodiac; he realized that regular polygons bound one inscribed and one circumscribed circle at definite ratios, which, he reasoned, might be the geometrical basis of the universe. After failing to find a unique arrangement of polygons that fit known astronomical observations (even with extra planets added to the system), Kepler began experimenting with 3-dimensional polyhedra. He found that each of the five Platonic solids could be uniquely inscribed and circumscribed by spherical orbs; nesting these solids, each encased in a sphere, within one another would produce six layers, corresponding to the six known planets—Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. By ordering the solids correctly—octahedron, icosahedron, dodecahedron, tetrahedron, cube—Kepler found that the spheres could be placed at intervals corresponding (within the accuracy limits of available astronomical observations) to the relative sizes of each planet’s path, assuming the planets circle the Sun. Kepler also found a formula relating the size of each planet’s orb to the length of its orbital period: from inner to outer planets, the ratio of increase in orbital period is twice the difference in orb radius. However, Kepler later rejected this formula, because it was not precise enough.[12]

Closeup of inner section of the model

As he indicated in the title, Kepler thought he had revealed God’s geometrical plan for the universe. Much of Kepler’s enthusiasm for the Copernican system stemmed from his theological convictions about the connection between the physical and the spiritual; the universe itself was an image of God, with the Sun corresponding to the Father, the stellar sphere to the Son, and the intervening space between to the Holy Spirit. His first manuscript of Mysterium contained an extensive chapter reconciling heliocentrism with biblical passages that seemed to support geocentrism.[13]

With the support of his mentor Michael Maestlin, Kepler received permission from the Tübingen university senate to publish his manuscript, pending removal of the Bible exegesis and the addition of a simpler, more understandable description of the Copernican system as well as Kepler’s new ideas. Mysterium was published late in 1596, and Kepler received his copies and began sending them to prominent astronomers and patrons early in 1597; it was not widely read, but it established Kepler’s reputation as a highly skilled astronomer. The effusive dedication, to powerful patrons as well as to the men who controlled his position in Graz, also provided a crucial doorway into the patronage system.[14]

Though the details would be modified in light of his later work, Kepler never relinquished the Platonist polyhedral-spherist cosmology of Mysterium Cosmographicum. His subsequent main astronomical works were in some sense only further developments of it, concerned with finding more precise inner and outer dimensions for the spheres by calculating the eccentricities of the planetary orbits within it. In 1621 Kepler published an expanded second edition of Mysterium, half as long again as the first, detailing in footnotes the corrections and improvements he had achieved in the 25 years since its first publication.[15]

[edit] Marriage to Barbara Müller

Portraits of Kepler and his wife in oval medallions

In December 1595, Kepler was introduced to Barbara Müller, a 23-year-old widow (twice over) with a young daughter, and he began courting her. Müller, heir to the estates of her late husbands, was also the daughter of a successful mill owner. Her father Jobst initially opposed a marriage despite Kepler's nobility; though he had inherited his grandfather's nobility, Kepler's poverty made him an unacceptable match. Jobst relented after Kepler completed work on Mysterium, but the engagement nearly fell apart while Kepler was away tending to the details of publication. However, church officials — who had helped set up the match — pressured the Müllers to honor their agreement. Barbara and Johannes were married on April 27, 1597.[16]

In the first years of their marriage, the Keplers had two children (Heinrich and Susanna), both of whom died in infancy. In 1602, they had a daughter (Susanna); in 1604, a son (Friedrich); and in 1607, another son (Ludwig).[17]

[edit] Other research

Following the publication of Mysterium and with the blessing of the Graz school inspectors, Kepler began an ambitious program to extend and elaborate his work. He planned four additional books: one on the stationary aspects of the universe (the Sun and the fixed stars); one on the planets and their motions; one on the physical nature of planets and the formation of geographical features (focused especially on Earth); and one on the effects of the heavens on the Earth, to include atmospheric optics, meteorology and astrology.[18]

He also sought the opinions of many of the astronomers to whom he had sent Mysterium, among them Reimarus Ursus (Nicolaus Reimers Bär) — the imperial mathematician to Rudolph II and a bitter rival of Tycho Brahe. Ursus did not reply directly, but republished Kepler's flattering letter to pursue his priority dispute over (what is now called) the Tychonic system with Tycho. Despite this black mark, Tycho also began corresponding with Kepler, starting with a harsh but legitimate critique of Kepler's system; among a host of objections, Tycho took issue with the use of inaccurate numerical data taken from Copernicus. Through their letters, Tycho and Kepler discussed a broad range of astronomical problems, dwelling on lunar phenomena and Copernican theory (particularly its theological viability). But without the significantly more accurate data of Tycho's observatory, Kepler had no way to address many of these issues.[19]

Instead, he turned his attention to chronology and "harmony," the numerological relationships among music, mathematics and the physical world, and their astrological consequences. By assuming the Earth to possess a soul (a property he would later invoke to explain how the sun causes the motion of planets), he established a speculative system connecting astrological aspects and astronomical distances to weather and other earthly phenomena. By 1599, however, he again felt his work limited by the inaccuracy of available data — just as growing religious tension was also threatening his continued employment in Graz. In December of that year, Tycho invited Kepler to visit him in Prague; on January 1, 1600 (before he even received the invitation), Kepler set off in the hopes that Tycho's patronage could solve his philosophical problems as well as his social and financial ones.[20]

[edit] Prague (1600–1612)

[edit] Work for Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe

On February 4, 1600, Kepler met Tycho Brahe and his assistants Franz Tengnagel and Longomontanus at Benátky nad Jizerou (35 km from Prague), the site where Tycho's new observatory was being constructed. Over the next two months he stayed as a guest, analyzing some of Tycho's observations of Mars; Tycho guarded his data closely, but was impressed by Kepler's theoretical ideas and soon allowed him more access. Kepler planned to test his theory from Mysterium Cosmographicum based on the Mars data, but he estimated that the work would take up to two years (since he was not allowed to simply copy the data for his own use). With the help of Johannes Jessenius, Kepler attempted to negotiate a more formal employment arrangement with Tycho, but negotiations broke down in an angry argument and Kepler left for Prague on April 6. Kepler and Tycho soon reconciled and eventually reached an agreement on salary and living arrangements, and in June, Kepler returned home to Graz to collect his family.[21]

Political and religious difficulties in Graz dashed his hopes of returning immediately to Tycho; in hopes of continuing his astronomical studies, Kepler sought an appointment as mathematician to Archduke Ferdinand. To that end, Kepler composed an essay — dedicated to Ferdinand — in which he proposed a force-based theory of lunar motion (In Terra inest virtus, quae Lunam ciet — "There is a force in the earth which causes the moon to move").[22] Though the essay did not earn him a place in Ferdinand's court, it did detail a new method for measuring lunar eclipses, which he applied during the July 10 eclipse in Graz. These observations formed the basis of his explorations of the laws of optics that would culminate in Astronomiae Pars Optica.[23]

On August 2, 1600, after refusing to convert to Catholicism, Kepler and his family were banished from Graz; several months later, Kepler returned, now with the rest of his household, to Prague. Through most of 1601, he was supported directly by Tycho, who assigned him to analyzing planetary observations and writing a tract against Tycho's (now deceased) rival Ursus. In September, Tycho secured him a commission as a collaborator on the new project he had proposed to the emperor: the Rudolphine Tables that should replace the Prussian Tables of Erasmus Reinhold. Two days after Tycho's unexpected death on October 24, 1601, Kepler was appointed his successor as imperial mathematician with the responsibility to complete his unfinished work. He illegally[clarification needed] appropriated Tycho's observations, the property of his heirs, which subsequently led to four year delays each to the publications of two of his works whilst he negotiated copyright permissions for the use of Tycho's data. The next 11 years as imperial mathematician would be the most productive of his life.[24]

[edit] Advisor to Emperor Rudolph II

Kepler's primary obligation as imperial mathematician was to provide astrological advice to the emperor. Though Kepler took a dim view of the attempts of contemporary astrologers to precisely predict the future or divine specific events, he had been casting detailed horoscopes for friends, family and patrons since his time as a student in Tübingen. In addition to horoscopes for allies and foreign leaders, the emperor sought Kepler's advice in times of political trouble (though Kepler's recommendations were based more on common sense than the stars). Rudolph was actively interested in the work of many of his court scholars (including numerous alchemists) and kept up with Kepler's work in physical astronomy as well.[25]

Officially, the only acceptable religious doctrines in Prague were Catholic and Utraquist, but Kepler's position in the imperial court allowed him to practice his Lutheran faith unhindered. The emperor nominally provided an ample income for his family, but the difficulties of the over-extended imperial treasury meant that actually getting hold of enough money to meet financial obligations was a continual struggle. Partly because of financial troubles, his life at home with Barbara was unpleasant, marred with bickering and bouts of sickness. Court life, however, brought Kepler into contact with other prominent scholars (Johannes Matthäus Wackher von Wackhenfels, Jost Bürgi, David Fabricius, Martin Bachazek, and Johannes Brengger, among others) and astronomical work proceeded rapidly.[26]

[edit] Astronomiae Pars Optica

A plate from Astronomiae Pars Optica, illustrating the structure of eyes

As he continued analyzing Tycho's Mars observations — now available to him in their entirety — and began the slow process of tabulating the Rudolphine Tables, Kepler also picked up the investigation of the laws of optics from his lunar essay of 1600. Both lunar and solar eclipses presented unexplained phenomena, such as unexpected shadow sizes, the red color of a total lunar eclipse, and the reportedly unusual light surrounding a total solar eclipse. Related issues of atmospheric refraction applied to all astronomical observations. Through most of 1603, Kepler paused his other work to focus on optical theory; the resulting manuscript, presented to the emperor on January 1, 1604, was published as Astronomiae Pars Optica (The Optical Part of Astronomy). In it, Kepler described the inverse-square law governing the intensity of light, reflection by flat and curved mirrors, and principles of pinhole cameras, as well as the astronomical implications of optics such as parallax and the apparent sizes of heavenly bodies. He also extended his study of optics to the human eye, and is generally considered by neuroscientists to be the first to recognize that images are projected inverted and reversed by the eye's lens onto the retina. The solution to this dilemma was not of particular importance to Kepler as he did not see it as pertaining to optics, although he did suggest that the image was later corrected "in the hollows of the brain" due to the "activity of the Soul."[27] Today, Astronomiae Pars Optica is generally recognized as the foundation of modern optics (though the law of refraction is conspicuously absent).[28]

[edit] The Supernova of 1604

Remnant of Kepler's Supernova SN 1604

In October 1604, a bright new evening star (SN 1604) appeared, but Kepler did not believe the rumors until he saw it himself. Kepler began systematically observing the star. Astrologically, the end of 1603 marked the beginning of a fiery trigon, the start of the ca. 800-year cycle of great conjunctions; astrologers associated the two previous such periods with the rise of Charlemagne (ca. 800 years earlier) and the birth of Christ (ca. 1600 years earlier), and thus expected events of great portent, especially regarding the emperor. It was in this context, as the imperial mathematician and astrologer to the emperor, that Kepler described the new star two years later in his De Stella Nova. In it, Kepler addressed the star's astronomical properties while taking a skeptical approach to the many astrological interpretations then circulating. He noted its fading luminosity, speculated about its origin, and used the lack of observed parallax to argue that it was in the sphere of fixed stars, further undermining the doctrine of the immutability of the heavens (the idea accepted since Aristotle that the celestial spheres were perfect and unchanging). The birth of a new star implied the variability of the heavens. In an appendix, Kepler also discussed the recent chronology work of Laurentius Suslyga; he calculated that, if Suslyga was correct that accepted timelines were four years behind, then the Star of Bethlehem — analogous to the present new star — would have coincided with the first great conjunction of the earlier 800-year cycle.[29]

The location of the stella nova, in the foot of Ophiuchus, is marked with an N (8 grid squares down, 4 over from the left).

[edit] Astronomia nova

The extended line of research that culminated in Astronomia nova (A New Astronomy) — including the first two laws of planetary motion — began with the analysis, under Tycho's direction, of Mars' orbit. Kepler calculated and recalculated various approximations of Mars' orbit using an equant (the mathematical tool that Copernicus had eliminated with his system), eventually creating a model that generally agreed with Tycho's observations to within two arcminutes (the average measurement error). But he was not satisfied with the complex and still slightly inaccurate result; at certain points the model differed from the data by up to eight arcminutes. The wide array of traditional mathematical astronomy methods having failed him, Kepler set about trying to fit an ovoid orbit to the data.[30]

Within Kepler's religious view of the cosmos, the Sun (a symbol of God the Father) was the source of motive force in the solar system. As a physical basis, Kepler drew by analogy on William Gilbert's theory of the magnetic soul of the Earth from De Magnete (1600) and on his own work on optics. Kepler supposed that the motive power (or motive species)[31] radiated by the Sun weakens with distance, causing faster or slower motion as planets move closer or farther from it.[32][33] Perhaps this assumption entailed a mathematical relationship that would restore astronomical order. Based on measurements of the aphelion and perihelion of the Earth and Mars, he created a formula in which a planet's rate of motion is inversely proportional to its distance from the Sun. Verifying this relationship throughout the orbital cycle, however, required very extensive calculation; to simplify this task, by late 1602 Kepler reformulated the proportion in terms of geometry: planets sweep out equal areas in equal times — the second law of planetary motion.[34]

Diagram of the geocentric trajectory of Mars through several periods of retrograde motion. Astronomia nova, Chapter 1, (1609).

He then set about calculating the entire orbit of Mars, using the geometrical rate law and assuming an egg-shaped ovoid orbit. After approximately 40 failed attempts, in early 1605 he at last hit upon the idea of an ellipse, which he had previously assumed to be too simple a solution for earlier astronomers to have overlooked. Finding that an elliptical orbit fit the Mars data, he immediately concluded that all planets move in ellipses, with the sun at one focus — the first law of planetary motion. Because he employed no calculating assistants, however, he did not extend the mathematical analysis beyond Mars. By the end of the year, he completed the manuscript for Astronomia nova, though it would not be published until 1609 due to legal disputes over the use of Tycho's observations, the property of his heirs.[35]

[edit] Dioptrice, Somnium manuscript and other work

In the years following the completion of Astronomia Nova, most of Kepler's research was focused on preparations for the Rudolphine Tables and a comprehensive set of ephemerides (specific predictions of planet and star positions) based on the table (though neither would be completed for many years). He also attempted (unsuccessfully) to begin a collaboration with Italian astronomer Giovanni Antonio Magini. Some of his other work dealt with chronology, especially the dating of events in the life of Jesus, and with astrology, especially criticism of dramatic predictions of catastrophe such as those of Helisaeus Roeslin.[36]

Kepler and Roeslin engaged in series of published attacks and counter-attacks, while physician Philip Feselius published a work dismissing astrology altogether (and Roeslin's work in particular). In response to what Kepler saw as the excesses of astrology on the one hand and overzealous rejection of it on the other, Kepler prepared Tertius Interveniens (Third-party Interventions). Nominally this work — presented to the common patron of Roeslin and Feselius — was a neutral mediation between the feuding scholars, but it also set out Kepler's general views on the value of astrology, including some hypothesized mechanisms of interaction between planets and individual souls. While Kepler considered most traditional rules and methods of astrology to be the "evil-smelling dung" in which "an industrious hen" scrapes, there was "also perhaps a good little grain" to be found by the conscientious scientific astrologer.[37]

Karlova street in Old Town, Prague – house where Johannes Kepler lived

In the first months of 1610, Galileo Galilei — using his powerful new telescope — discovered four satellites orbiting Jupiter. Upon publishing his account as Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), Galileo sought the opinion of Kepler, in part to bolster the credibility of his observations. Kepler responded enthusiastically with a short published reply, Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo (Conversation with the Starry Messenger). He endorsed Galileo's observations and offered a range of speculations about the meaning and implications of Galileo's discoveries and telescopic methods, for astronomy and optics as well as cosmology and astrology. Later that year, Kepler published his own telescopic observations of the moons in Narratio de Jovis Satellitibus, providing further support of Galileo. To Kepler's disappointment, however, Galileo never published his reactions (if any) to Astronomia Nova.[38]

After hearing of Galileo's telescopic discoveries, Kepler also started a theoretical and experimental investigation of telescopic optics using a telescope borrowed from Duke Ernest of Cologne.[39] The resulting manuscript was completed in September of 1610 and published as Dioptrice in 1611. In it, Kepler set out the theoretical basis of double-convex converging lenses and double-concave diverging lenses — and how they are combined to produce a Galilean telescope — as well as the concepts of real vs. virtual images, upright vs. inverted images, and the effects of focal length on magnification and reduction. He also described an improved telescope — now known as the astronomical or Keplerian telescope — in which two convex lenses can produce higher magnification than Galileo's combination of convex and concave lenses.[40]

One of the diagrams from Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula, illustrating the Kepler conjecture

Around 1611, Kepler circulated a manuscript of what would eventually be published (posthumously) as Somnium (The Dream). Part of the purpose of Somnium was to describe what practicing astronomy would be like from the perspective of another planet, to show the feasibility of a non-geocentric system. The manuscript, which disappeared after changing hands several times, described a fantastic trip to the moon; it was part allegory, part autobiography, and part treatise on interplanetary travel (and is sometimes described as the first work of science fiction). Years later, a distorted version of the story may have instigated the witchcraft trial against his mother, as the mother of the narrator consults a demon to learn the means of space travel. Following her eventual acquittal, Kepler composed 223 footnotes to the story — several times longer than the actual text — which explained the allegorical aspects as well as the considerable scientific content (particularly regarding lunar geography) hidden within the text.[41]

As a New Year's gift that year, he also composed for his friend and some-time patron Baron Wackher von Wackhenfels a short pamphlet entitled Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula (A New Year's Gift of Hexagonal Snow). In this treatise, he investigated the hexagonal symmetry of snowflakes and, extending the discussion into a hypothetical atomistic physical basis for the symmetry, posed what later became known as the Kepler conjecture, a statement about the most efficient arrangement for packing spheres.[42]

[edit] Personal and political troubles

In 1611, the growing political-religious tension in Prague came to a head. Emperor Rudolph — whose health was failing — was forced to abdicate as King of Bohemia by his brother Matthias. Both sides sought Kepler's astrological advice, an opportunity he used to deliver conciliatory political advice (with little reference to the stars, except in general statements to discourage drastic action). However, it was clear that Kepler's future prospects in the court of Matthias were dim.[43]

Also in that year, Barbara Kepler contracted Hungarian spotted fever, then began having seizures. As Barbara was recovering, Kepler's three children all fell sick with smallpox; Friedrich, 6, died. Following his son's death, Kepler sent letters to potential patrons in Württemberg and Padua. At the University of Tübingen in Württemberg, concerns over Kepler's perceived Calvinist heresies in violation of the Augsburg Confession and the Formula of Concord prevented his return. The University of Padua — on the recommendation of the departing Galileo — sought Kepler to fill the mathematics professorship, but Kepler, preferring to keep his family in German territory, instead travelled to Austria to arrange a position as teacher and district mathematician in Linz. However, Barbara relapsed into illness and died shortly after Kepler's return.[44]

Kepler postponed the move to Linz and remained in Prague until Rudolph's death in early 1612, though between political upheaval, religious tension, and family tragedy (along with the legal dispute over his wife's estate), Kepler could do no research. Instead, he pieced together a chronology manuscript, Eclogae Chronicae, from correspondence and earlier work. Upon succession as Holy Roman Emperor, Matthias re-affirmed Kepler's position (and salary) as imperial mathematician but allowed him to move to Linz.[45]

[edit] Linz and elsewhere (1612–1630)

A statue of Kepler in Linz.

In Linz, Kepler's primary responsibilities (beyond completing the Rudolphine Tables) were teaching at the district school and providing astrological and astronomical services. In his first years there, he enjoyed financial security and religious freedom relative to his life in Prague — though he was excluded from Eucharist by his Lutheran church over his theological scruples. His first publication in Linz was De vero Anno (1613), an expanded treatise on the year of Christ's birth; he also participated in deliberations on whether to introduce Pope Gregory's reformed calendar to Protestant German lands; that year he also wrote the influential mathematical treatise Nova stereometria doliorum vinariorum, on measuring the volume of containers such as wine barrels (though it would not be published until 1615).[46]

[edit] Second marriage

On October 30, 1613, Kepler married the 24-year-old Susanna Reuttinger. Following Barbara's death, Kepler had considered 11 different matches. He eventually returned to Reuttinger (the fifth match) who, he wrote, "won me over with love, humble loyalty, economy of household, diligence, and the love she gave the stepchildren."[47] The first three children of this marriage (Margareta Regina, Katharina, and Sebald) died in childhood. Three more survived into adulthood: Cordula (b. 1621); Fridmar (b. 1623); and Hildebert (b. 1625). According to Kepler's biographers, this was a much happier marriage than his first.[48]

[edit] Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, calendars and the witch trial of his mother

Since completing the Astronomia nova, Kepler had intended to compose an astronomy textbook.[49] In 1615, he completed the first of three volumes of Epitome astronomia Copernicanae (Epitome of Copernican Astronomy); the first volume (books I-III) was printed in 1617, the second (book IV) in 1620, and the third (books V-VII) in 1621. Despite the title, which referred simply to heliocentrism, Kepler's textbook culminated in his own ellipse-based system. Epitome became Kepler's most influential work. It contained all three laws of planetary motion and attempted to explain heavenly motions through physical causes.[50] Though it explicitly extended the first two laws of planetary motion (applied to Mars in Astronomia nova) to all the planets as well as the Moon and the Medicean satellites of Jupiter, it did not explain how elliptical orbits could be derived from observational data.[51]

As a spin-off from the Rudolphine Tables and the related Ephemerides, Kepler published astrological calendars, which were very popular and helped offset the costs of producing his other work — especially when support from the Imperial treasury was withheld. In his calendars — six between 1617 and 1624 — Kepler forecast planetary positions and weather as well as political events; the latter were often cannily accurate, thanks to his keen grasp of contemporary political and theological tensions. By 1624, however, the escalation of those tensions and the ambiguity of the prophecies meant political trouble for Kepler himself; his final calendar was publicly burned in Graz.[52]

Geometrical harmonies in the perfect solids from Harmonices Mundi (1619)
The iconic frontispiece to the Rudolphine Tables celebrates the great astronomers of the past: Hipparchus, Ptolemy, Copernicus, and most prominently, Tycho Brahe

In 1615, Ursula Reingold, a woman in a financial dispute with Kepler's brother Cristoph, claimed Kepler's mother Katharina had made her sick with an evil brew. The dispute escalated, and in 1617, Katharina was accused of witchcraft; witchcraft trials were relatively common in central Europe at this time. Beginning in August 1620 she was imprisoned for fourteen months. She was released in October 1621, thanks in part to the extensive legal defense drawn up by Kepler. The accusers had no stronger evidence than rumors, along with a distorted, second-hand version of Kepler's Somnium, in which a woman mixes potions and enlists the aid of a demon. However, Katharina was subjected to territio verbalis, a graphic description of the torture awaiting her as a witch, in a final attempt to make her confess. Throughout the trial, Kepler postponed his other work to focus on his "harmonic theory". The result, published in 1619, was Harmonices Mundi ("Harmony of the Worlds").[53]

[edit] Harmonices Mundi

Kepler was convinced "that the geometrical things have provided the Creator with the model for decorating the whole world."[54] In Harmony, he attempted to explain the proportions of the natural world — particularly the astronomical and astrological aspects — in terms of music. The central set of "harmonies" was the musica universalis or "music of the spheres," which had been studied by Pythagoras, Ptolemy and many others before Kepler; in fact, soon after publishing Harmonices Mundi, Kepler was embroiled in a priority dispute with Robert Fludd, who had recently published his own harmonic theory.[55]

Kepler began by exploring regular polygons and regular solids, including the figures that would come to be known as Kepler's solids. From there, he extended his harmonic analysis to music, meteorology and astrology; harmony resulted from the tones made by the souls of heavenly bodies — and in the case of astrology, the interaction between those tones and human souls. In the final portion of the work (Book V), Kepler dealt with planetary motions, especially relationships between orbital velocity and orbital distance from the Sun. Similar relationships had been used by other astronomers, but Kepler — with Tycho's data and his own astronomical theories — treated them much more precisely and attached new physical significance to them.[56]

Among many other harmonies, Kepler articulated what came to be known as the third law of planetary motion. He then tried many combinations until he discovered that (approximately) "The square of the periodic times are to each other as the cubes of the mean distances." However, the wider significance for planetary dynamics of this purely kinematical law was not realized until the 1660s. For when conjoined with Christian Huygens' newly discovered law of centrifugal force it enabled Isaac Newton, Edmund Halley and perhaps Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke to demonstrate independently that the presumed gravitational attraction between the Sun and its planets decreased with the square of the distance between them.[57] This refuted the traditional assumption of scholastic physics that the power of gravitational attraction remained constant with distance whenever it applied between two bodies, such as was assumed by Kepler and also by Galileo in his mistaken universal law that gravitational fall is uniformly accelerated, and also by Galileo's student Borrelli in his 1666 celestial mechanics.[58]

[edit] Rudolphine Tables and his last years

In 1623, Kepler at last completed the Rudolphine Tables, which at the time was considered his major work. However, due to the publishing requirements of the emperor and negotiations with Tycho Brahe's heir, it would not be printed until 1627. In the meantime religious tension — the root of the ongoing Thirty Years' War — once again put Kepler and his family in jeopardy. In 1625, agents of the Catholic Counter-Reformation placed most of Kepler's library under seal, and in 1626 the city of Linz was besieged. Kepler moved to Ulm, where he arranged for the printing of the Tables at his own expense.[59]

In 1628, following the military successes of the Emperor Ferdinand's armies under General Wallenstein, Kepler became an official adviser to Wallenstein. Though not the general's court astrologer per se, Kepler provided astronomical calculations for Wallenstein's astrologers and occasionally wrote horoscopes himself. In his final years, Kepler spent much of his time traveling, from court in Prague to Linz and Ulm to a temporary home in Sagan, and finally to Regensburg. Soon after arriving in Regensburg, Kepler fell ill. He died on November 15, 1630, and was buried there; his burial site was lost after the army of Gustavus Adolphus destroyed the churchyard.[60]

[edit] Reception of his astronomy

Kepler's laws were not immediately accepted. Several major figures such as Galileo and René Descartes completely ignored Kepler's Astronomia nova. Many astronomers, including Kepler's teacher, Michael Maestlin, objected to Kepler's introduction of physics into his astronomy. Some adopted compromise positions. Ismael Boulliau accepted elliptical orbits but replaced Kepler's area law with uniform motion in respect to the empty focus of the ellipse while Seth Ward used an elliptical orbit with motions defined by an equant.[61][62][63]

Several astronomers tested Kepler's theory, and its various modifications, against astronomical observations. Two transits of Venus and Mercury across the face of the sun provided sensitive tests of the theory, under circumstances when these planets could not normally be observed. In the case of the transit of Mercury in 1631, Kepler had been extremely uncertain of the parameters for Mercury, and advised observers to look for the transit the day before and after the predicted date. Pierre Gassendi observed the transit on the date predicted, a confirmation of Kepler's prediction.[64] This was the first observation of a transit of Mercury. However, his attempt to observe the transit of Venus just one month later, was unsuccessful due to inaccuracies in the Rudolphine Tables. Gassendi did not realize that it was not visible from most of Europe, including Paris.[65] Jeremiah Horrocks, who observed the 1639 Venus transit, had used his own observations to adjust the parameters of the Keplerian model, predicted the transit, and then built apparatus to observe the transit. He remained a firm advocate of the Keplerian model.[66][67][68]

Epitome of Copernican Astronomy was read by astronomers throughout Europe, and following Kepler's death it was the main vehicle for spreading Kepler's ideas. Between 1630 and 1650, it was the most widely used astronomy textbook, winning many converts to ellipse-based astronomy.[69] However, few adopted his ideas on the physical basis for celestial motions. In the late 17th century, a number of physical astronomy theories drawing from Kepler's work — notably those of Giovanni Alfonso Borelli and Robert Hooke — began to incorporate attractive forces (though not the quasi-spiritual motive species postulated by Kepler) and the Cartesian concept of inertia. This culminated in Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica (1687), in which Newton derived Kepler's laws of planetary motion from a force-based theory of universal gravitation.[70]

[edit] Historical and cultural legacy

Monument to Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler in Prague, Czech Republic.
The GDR stamp featuring Johannes Kepler.

Beyond his role in the historical development of astronomy and natural philosophy, Kepler has loomed large in the philosophy and historiography of science. Kepler and his laws of motion were central to early histories of astronomy such as Jean Etienne Montucla’s 1758 Histoire des mathématiques and Jean-Baptiste Delambre's 1821 Histoire de l’astronomie moderne. These and other histories written from an Enlightenment perspective treated Kepler's metaphysical and religious arguments with skepticism and disapproval, but later Romantic-era natural philosophers viewed these elements as central to his success. William Whewell, in his influential History of the Inductive Sciences of 1837, found Kepler to be the archetype of the inductive scientific genius; in his Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences of 1840, Whewell held Kepler up as the embodiment of the most advanced forms of scientific method. Similarly, Ernst Friedrich Apelt — the first to extensively study Kepler's manuscripts, after their purchase by Catherine the Great — identified Kepler as a key to the "Revolution of the sciences". Apelt, who saw Kepler's mathematics, aesthetic sensibility, physical ideas, and theology as part of a unified system of thought, produced the first extended analysis of Kepler's life and work.[71]

Modern translations of a number of Kepler's books appeared in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the systematic publication of his collected works began in 1937 (and is nearing completion in the early 21st century), and Max Caspar's seminal Kepler biography was published in 1948.[72] However, Alexandre Koyré's work on Kepler was, after Apelt, the first major milestone in historical interpretations of Kepler's cosmology and its influence. In the 1930s and 1940s Koyré, and a number of others in the first generation of professional historians of science, described the "Scientific Revolution" as the central event in the history of science, and Kepler as a (perhaps the) central figure in the revolution. Koyré placed Kepler's theorization, rather than his empirical work, at the center of the intellectual transformation from ancient to modern world-views. Since the 1960s, the volume of historical Kepler scholarship has expanded greatly, including studies of his astrology and meteorology, his geometrical methods, the role of his religious views in his work, his literary and rhetorical methods, his interaction with the broader cultural and philosophical currents of his time, and even his role as an historian of science.[73]

The debate over Kepler's place in the Scientific Revolution has also spawned a wide variety of philosophical and popular treatments. One of the most influential is Arthur Koestler's 1959 The Sleepwalkers, in which Kepler is unambiguously the hero (morally and theologically as well as intellectually) of the revolution.[74] Influential philosophers of science — such as Charles Sanders Peirce, Norwood Russell Hanson, Stephen Toulmin, and Karl Popper — have repeatedly turned to Kepler: examples of incommensurability, analogical reasoning, falsification, and many other philosophical concepts have been found in Kepler's work. Physicist Wolfgang Pauli even used Kepler's priority dispute with Robert Fludd to explore the implications of analytical psychology on scientific investigation.[75] A well-received, if fanciful, historical novel by John Banville, Kepler (1981), explored many of the themes developed in Koestler's non-fiction narrative and in the philosophy of science.[76] Somewhat more fanciful is a recent work of nonfiction, Heavenly Intrigue (2004), suggesting that Kepler murdered Tycho Brahe to gain access to his data.[77] Kepler has acquired a popular image as an icon of scientific modernity and a man before his time; science popularizer Carl Sagan described him as "the first astrophysicist and the last scientific astrologer."[78]

In Austria, Johannes Kepler has left behind such a historical legacy that he was one of the motifs of one of the most famous silver collector's coins: the 10-euro Johannes Kepler silver coin, minted in September 10, 2002. The reverse side of the coin has a portrait of Kepler, who spent some time teaching in Graz and the surrounding areas. Kepler was acquainted with Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg personally, and he probably influenced the construction of Eggenberg Castle (the motif of the obverse of the coin). In front of him on the coin is the model of nested spheres and polyhedra from Mysterium Cosmographicum.

In 2009, NASA named the Kepler Mission for Kepler's contributions to the field of astronomy.[79]

[edit] Works

  • Mysterium cosmographicum (The Sacred Mystery of the Cosmos) (1596)
  • Astronomiae Pars Optica (The Optical Part of Astronomy) (1604)
  • De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii (On the New Star in Ophiuchus's Foot) (1604)
  • Astronomia nova (New Astronomy) (1609)
  • Tertius Interveniens (Third-party Interventions) (1610)
  • Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo (Conversation with the Starry Messenger) (1610)
  • Dioptrice (1611)
The lunar crater Kepler.
  • De nive sexangula (On the Six-Cornered Snowflake) (1611)
  • De vero Anno, quo aeternus Dei Filius humanam naturam in Utero benedictae Virginis Mariae assumpsit (1613)
  • Eclogae Chronicae (1615, published with Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo)
  • Nova stereometria doliorum vinariorum (New Stereometry of Wine Barrels) (1615)
  • Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae (Epitome of Copernican Astronomy) (published in three parts from 1618–1621)
  • Harmonice Mundi (Harmony of the Worlds) (1619)
  • Mysterium cosmographicum (The Sacred Mystery of the Cosmos) 2nd Edition (1621)
  • Tabulae Rudolphinae (Rudolphine Tables) (1627)
  • Somnium (The Dream) (1634)

[edit] See also

[edit] Named in his honor

[edit] In popular culture

[edit] Notes and references

  1. ^ Barker and Goldstein, "Theological Foundations of Kepler's Astronomy", pp. 112–13.
  2. ^ Kepler, New Astronomy, title page, tr. Donohue, pp. 26–7
  3. ^ Kepler, New Astronomy, p. 48
  4. ^ Epitome of Copernican Astronomy in Great Books of the Western World, Vol 16, p. 845
  5. ^ Stephenson, Kepler's Physical Astronomy, pp. 1–2; Dear, Revolutionizing the Sciences, pp. 74–78
  6. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 29–36; see also: Connor, Kepler's Witch, pp 23–46
  7. ^ a b Quotation from Koestler, The Sleepwalkers, p 234, translated from Kepler's family horoscope
  8. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 36–38; Connor, Kepler's Witch, pp 25–27.
  9. ^ James A. Connor, Kepler's Witch (2004), p. 58.
  10. ^ Robert S. Westman, "Kepler's Early Physico-Astrological Problematic," Journal for the History of Astronomy, 32 (2001): pp 227–36.
  11. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 38–52; Connor, Kepler's Witch, pp 49–69.
  12. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 60–65; see also: Barker and Goldstein, "Theological Foundations of Kepler's Astronomy."
  13. ^ Barker and Goldstein, "Theological Foundations of Kepler's Astronomy," pp 99–103, 112–113
  14. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 65–71
  15. ^ Field, Kepler's Geometrical Cosmology, Chapter IV p 73ff
  16. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 71–75
  17. ^ Connor, Kepler's Witch, pp 89–100, 114–116; Caspar, Kepler, pp 75–77
  18. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 85–86
  19. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 86–89
  20. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 89–100
  21. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 100–108
  22. ^ Translation from Caspar, Kepler, p 110
  23. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 108–111
  24. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 111–122
  25. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 149–153
  26. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 146–148, 159–177
  27. ^ Finger, "Origins of Neuroscience," p 74. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  28. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 142–146
  29. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 153–157
  30. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 123–128
  31. ^ On motive species, see: Lindberg, "The Genesis of Kepler's Theory of Light," pp 38–40
  32. ^ "Kepler's decision to base his causal explanation of planetary motion on a distance-velocity law, rather than on uniform circular motions of compounded spheres, marks a major shift from ancient to modern conceptions of science.... [Kepler] had begun with physical principles and had then derived a trajectory from it, rather than simply constructing new models. In other words, even before discovering the area law, Kepler had abandoned uniform circular motion as a physical principle." Peter Barker and Bernard R. Goldstein, "Distance and Velocity in Kepler's Astronomy", Annals of Science, 51 (1994): 59-73, at p. 60.
  33. ^ Koyré, The Astronomical Revolution, pp 199–202
  34. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 129–132
  35. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 131–140; Koyré, The Astronomical Revolution, pp 277–279
  36. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 178–181
  37. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 181–185. The full title is Tertius Interveniens, das ist Warnung an etliche Theologos, Medicos vnd Philosophos, sonderlich D. Philippum Feselium, dass sie bey billicher Verwerffung der Sternguckerischen Aberglauben nict das Kindt mit dem Badt aussschütten vnd hiermit jhrer Profession vnwissendt zuwider handlen, translated by C. Doris Hellman as "Tertius Interveniens, that is warning to some theologians, medics and philosophers, especially D. Philip Feselius, that they in cheap condemnation of the star-gazer's superstition do not throw out the child with the bath and hereby unknowingly act contrary to their profession."
  38. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 192–197
  39. ^ Koestler, The Sleepwalkers p 384
  40. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 198–202
  41. ^ Lear, Kepler's Dream, pp 1–78
  42. ^ Schneer, "Kepler's New Year's Gift of a Snowflake," pp 531–545
  43. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 202–204
  44. ^ Connor, Kepler's Witch, pp 222–226; Caspar, Kepler, pp 204–207
  45. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 208–211
  46. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 209–220, 227–240
  47. ^ Quotation from Connor, Kepler's Witch, p 252, translated from an October 23, 1613 letter from Kepler to an anonymous nobleman
  48. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 220–223; Connor, Kepler's Witch, pp 251–254.
  49. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 239–240, 293–300
  50. ^ Gingerich, "Kepler, Johannes" from Dictionary of Scientific Biography, pp 302–304
  51. ^ Wolf, A History of Science, Technology and Philosophy, pp 140–141; Pannekoek, A History of Astronomy, p 252
  52. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 239, 300–301, 307–308
  53. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 240–264; Connor, Kepler's Witch, chapters I, XI-XIII; Lear, Kepler's Dream, pp 21–39
  54. ^ Quotation from Caspar, Kepler, pp 265–266, translated from Harmonices Mundi
  55. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 264–266, 290–293
  56. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 266–290
  57. ^ Westfall, Never at Rest, pp 143, 152, 402–3; Toulmin and Goodfield, The Fabric of the Heavens, p 248; De Gandt, 'Force and Geometry in Newton's Principia', chapter 2; Wolf, History of Science, Technology and Philosophy, p 150; Westfall, The Construction of Modern Science, chapters 7 and 8
  58. ^ Koyré, The Astronomical Revolution, p 502
  59. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 308–328
  60. ^ Caspar, Kepler, pp 332–351, 355–361
  61. ^ For a detailed study of the reception of Kepler's astronomy see Wilbur Applebaum, "Keplerian Astronomy after Kepler: Researches and Problems," History of Science, 34(1996): 451-504.
  62. ^ Koyré, The Astronomical Revolution, pp 362–364
  63. ^ North, History of Astronomy and Cosmology, pp. 355–360
  64. ^ Albert van Helden, "The Importance of the Transit of Mercury of 1631," Journal for the History of Astronomy, 7 (1976): 1–10.
  65. ^ HM Nautical Almanac Office (2004-06-10). "1631 Transit of Venus". Retrieved on 28 August 2006. 
  66. ^ Allan Chapman, "Jeremiah Horrocks, the transit of Venus, and the 'New Astronomy' in early 17th-century England," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 31 (1990): 333–357.
  67. ^ North, History of Astronomy and Cosmology, pp. 348–349
  68. ^ Wilbur Applebaum and Robert Hatch, "Boulliau, Mercator, and Horrock's Venus in sole visa: Three Unpublished Letters," Journal for the History of Astronomy, 14(1983): 166–179
  69. ^ Gingerich, "Kepler, Johannes" from Dictionary of Scientific Biography, pp 302–304
  70. ^ Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution, pp 238, 246–252
  71. ^ Jardine, "Koyré’s Kepler/Kepler's Koyré," pp 363–367
  72. ^ Gingerich, introduction to Caspar's Kepler, pp 3–4
  73. ^ Jardine, "Koyré’s Kepler/Kepler's Koyré," pp 367–372; Shapin, The Scientific Revolution, pp 1–2
  74. ^ Stephen Toulmin, Review of The Sleepwalkers in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 59, no. 18 (1962), pp 500–503
  75. ^ Pauli, "The Influence of Archetypical Ideas"
  76. ^ William Donahue, "A Novelist's Kepler," Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 13 (1982), pp 135–136; "Dancing the grave dance: Science, art and religion in John Banville's Kepler," English Studies, Vol. 86, no. 5 (October 2005), pp 424–438
  77. ^ Marcelo Gleiser, "Kepler in the Dock", review of Gilder and Gilder's Heavenly Intrigue, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 35, pt. 4 (2004), pp 487–489
  78. ^ Quote from Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, episode III: "The Harmony of the Worlds". Kepler was hardly the first to combine physics and astronomy; however, according to the traditional (though disputed) interpretation of the Scientific Revolution, he would be the first astrophysicist in the era of modern science.
  79. ^ Ng, Jansen (03-06-2009). "Kepler Mission Sets Out to Find Planets Using CCD Cameras". DailyTech. Retrieved on 03-07-2009. 
  • The most complete biography of Kepler remains Max Caspar's Kepler, while many later studies have focused on particular elements of his life and work. Though there are a number of more recent biographies, most are based on Caspar's work with minimal original research; much of the information cited from Caspar can also be found in the books by Arthur Koestler, Kitty Ferguson, and James A. Connor. Owen Gingerich's The Eye of Heaven builds on Caspar's work to place Kepler in the broader intellectual context of early-modern astronomy. Kepler's mathematics, cosmological, philosophical and historical views have been extensively analyzed in books and journal articles, though his astrological work — and its relationship to his astronomy — remains understudied.

[edit] Sources

  • Andersen, Hanne; Peter Barker; and Xiang Chen: The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions, chapter 6: "The Copernican Revolution." New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006 ISBN 0521855756
  • Armitage, Angus: John Kepler, Faber, 1966
  • Banville, John: Kepler, Martin, Secker and Warburg, London, 1981 (fictionalised biography)
  • Barker, Peter and Bernard R. Goldstein: "Theological Foundations of Kepler's Astronomy". Osiris, Volume 16: Science in Theistic Contexts. University of Chicago Press, 2001, pp 88–113
  • Caspar, Max: Kepler; transl. and ed. by C. Doris Hellman; with a new introduction and references by Owen Gingerich; bibliographic citations by Owen Gingerich and Alain Segonds. New York: Dover, 1993 ISBN 0486676056
  • Connor, James A.: Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother. HarperSanFrancisco, 2004 ISBN 0060522550
  • De Gandt, Francois: Force and Geometry in Newton's Principia, Translated by Curtis Wilson, Princeton University Press 1995 ISBN 0691033676
  • Dreyer, J. L. E.: A History of Astronomy from Thales to Kepler. Dover Publications Inc, 1967 ISBN 0486600793
  • Ferguson, Kitty: The nobleman and his housedog: Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler: the strange partnership that revolutionized science. London: Review, 2002 ISBN 0747270228 - published in the US as: Tycho & Kepler: the unlikely partnership that forever changed our understanding of the heavens. New York: Walker, 2002 ISBN 0802713904
  • Field, J. V.: Kepler's geometrical cosmology. Chicago University Press, 1988 ISBN 0226248232
  • Gilder, Joshua and Anne-Lee Gilder: Heavenly Intrigue: Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brahe, and the Murder Behind One of History's Greatest Scientific Discoveries, Doubleday (May 18, 2004), ISBN 0385508441 Reviews [1][2]
  • Gingerich, Owen: The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler. American Institute of Physics, 1993 ISBN 0883188635 (Masters of modern physics; v. 7)
  • Gingerich, Owen: "Kepler, Johannes" in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Volume VII. Charles Coulston Gillispie, editor. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973
  • Jardine, Nick: "Koyré’s Kepler/Kepler's Koyré," History of Science, Vol. 38 (2000), pp 363–376
  • Kepler, Johannes: Johannes Kepler New Astronomy trans. W. Donahue, forward by O. Gingerich, Cambridge University Press 1993 ISBN 0521301319
  • Kepler, Johannes and Christian Frisch: Joannis Kepleri Astronomi Opera Omnia (John Kepler, Astronomer; Complete Works), 8 vols.(1858–1871). vol. 1, 1858, vol. 2, 1859, vol. 3,1860, vol. 6, 1866, vol. 7, 1868, Francofurti a.M. et Erlangae, Heyder & Zimmer, - Google Books
  • Kepler, Johannes, et al.: Great Books of the Western World. Volume 16: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler , Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1952. (Contains English translations by of Kepler's Epitome, Books IV & V and Harmonices Book 5.)
  • Koestler, Arthur: The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe. (1959). ISBN 0140192468
  • Koyré, Alexandre: Galilean Studies Harvester Press 1977 ISBN 0855273542
  • Koyré, Alexandre: The Astronomical Revolution: Copernicus-Kepler-Borelli Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1973 ISBN 0801405041; Methuen, 1973 ISBN 0416769802; Hermann, 1973 ISBN 2705656480
  • Kuhn, Thomas S.: The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957. ISBN 0674171039
  • Lindberg, David C.: "The Genesis of Kepler's Theory of Light: Light Metaphysics from Plotinus to Kepler." Osiris, N.S. 2. University of Chicago Press, 1986, pp 5–42.
  • Lear, John: Kepler's Dream. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965
  • North, John: The Fontana History of Astronomy and Cosmology, Fontana Press, 1994. ISBN 0006861776
  • Pannekoek, Anton: A History of Astronomy, Dover Publications Inc 1989. ISBN 0486659941
  • Pauli, Wolfgang: Wolfgang Pauli - Writings on physics and philosophy, translated by Robert Schlapp and edited by P. Enz and Karl von Meyenn (Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1994). See section 21, The influence of archetypical ideas on the scientific theories of Kepler, concerning Johannes Kepler and Robert Fludd (1574–1637). ISBN 354056859X
  • Schneer, Cecil: "Kepler's New Year's Gift of a Snowflake." Isis, Volume 51, No. 4. University of Chicago Press, 1960, pp 531–545.
  • Shapin, Steven: The Scientific Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. ISBN 0226750205
  • Stephenson, Bruce: Kepler's physical astronomy. New York: Springer, 1987 ISBN 0-387-96541-6 (Studies in the history of mathematics and physical sciences; 13); reprinted Princeton:Princeton Univ. Pr., 1994 ISBN 0691036527
  • Stephenson, Bruce: The Music of the Heavens: Kepler's Harmonic Astronomy, Princeton University Press, 1994. ISBN 0691034397
  • Toulmin, Stephen and June Goodfield: The Fabric of the Heavens: The Development of Astronomy and Dynamics. Pelican, 1963.
  • Voelkel, James R.: The Composition of Kepler's Astronomia nova, Princeton University Press, 2001. ISBN 0691007381
  • Westfall, Richard S.: The Construction of Modern Science: Mechanism and Mechanics. John Wiley and Sons, 1971. ISBN 047193531X; reprinted Cambridge University Press, 1978. ISBN 0521292956
  • Westfall, Richard S.: Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton. Cambridge University Press, 1981. ISBN 0521231434
  • Wolf, A.: A History of Science, Technology and Philosophy in the 16th and 17th centuries. George Allen & Unwin, 1950.

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NAME Kepler, Johannes
SHORT DESCRIPTION German mathematician, astronomer, astrologer
DATE OF BIRTH December 27, 1571(1571-12-27)
PLACE OF BIRTH Imperial Free City of Weil der Stadt
DATE OF DEATH November 15, 1630
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