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Martinez 1 Johannes KeplerIntroduction Johannes Kepler was born on December 27, 1571. He was born in Weil der Stadt, Germany. His birth city was in a wine region and near France. Weil der Stadt is in southwest Germany where the houses are small and streets were even smaller. Johannes was the son first son of Henry and Katherine Kepler, and since his birthday fell on St. John s day, he was given the apostle s name in baptism. Kepler’s grandfather wassupposedly from a noble background, and once Mayor of Weil. However, Kepler’s father became a mercenary who narrowly avoided the gallows. Kepler’s mother, Katherine, was raised by an aunt who was eventually burned as a witch. In later years, Katherine herself was accused of Devil worship, and barely escaped from being burned at the stake. Kepler had six brothers and sisters, three of which, died in infancy. As a seven-month child, Kepler was sickly from birth, and contracted smallpox when very young. His vision was severely defective, and he had various other illnesses fairly constantly. From this unfavorable start, Johannes Kepler began his fascinating trek as a pioneering astronomer. Life and times of Kepler Kepler had dreamed for many years to attend the University of Tubingen, a Protestant school. This school was Germany s best university at the time. He was accepted and studied mostly philosophy and theology, and some math and astronomy. Martinez 2Kepler quickly become renowned for being a diligent and gifted student. His mathematical ability was noticed by his astronomy teacher Michael Maestlin. Officially Maestlin taught geocentric (Ptolemaic) astronomy, but able pupils, among them Kepler, were also introduced to the heliocentric astronomy of Copernicus. In August of 1591, he took his masters exam. Kepler originally intended to become a priest, but in 1594 was persuaded to take up a post teaching mathematics at Graz, Austria, where he stayed for six years. One of the duties of this authority was to make astrological predictions. Despite his earlier efforts at horoscopes, he wrote “a mind accustomed to mathematical deduction, when confronted with the faulty foundations (of astrology) resists a long, long time, like an obstinate mule, until compelled by beating and curses to put its foot into that dirty puddle”. Nevertheless, he predicted a cold winter, and an attack by the Turks. Both predictions turned out to be accurate. He was treated with a new respect, and his salary was magnified.In December of 1594, Kepler fell in love with Barbara Mueller. 1597, he married the reasonably wealthy two-time widow, daughter of a wealthy mill owner. Her fortune was tied up in land, and was adequate, Kepler estimated, to support him after a few years. Kepler stayed at the University of Graz until 1600, when he was pressured to leave due to his Lutheran faith. Kepler traveled to the observatory of the famed Danish Astronomer and Imperial Mathematician, Tycho Brahe, where he became Brahe’s assistant. By all accounts, the relationship between the two was strained. We have previously discussed Kepler’s upbringing. In contrast, Brahe was from an aristocratic background who shared Kepler’s less than witty personality. As a result, the two Martinez 3continuously quarreled, and usually failed to resolve their academic and personal differences. However, the two realized that they needed each other. As a result, both learned from each other’s writings. Brahe died in 1601, and Kepler assumed his post as imperial mathematician. In addition, Rudolph II requested his service as court astronomer, which Kepler performed until Rudolph’s death in 1612,During his tenure as court astronomer, Johannes Kepler labored over one of his most impressive works: Astronomia Nova. Johannes Kepler was named the private mathematicus in the newly acquired Duchy of Sagan in 1628. Unfortunately, neither this position nor his previous one was a lucrative profession due to the Thirty Years War. As such, Kepler was left having to borrow money to travel to collect an old debt leaving his second wife and children behind, penniless. Sadly, he died en route on November 15, 1630 in the village of Ratisbon.

What Kepler is most famous for Johannes Kepler was most famous for his formulating and verifying the three laws of planetary motion or Kepler s laws. Kepler based his laws on planetary data collected by Tycho Brahe. The proposals broke with a centuries old belief based on the Ptolemaic system advanced by the Alexandrian astronomer, Ptolemy. Planets were believed to move in a circular orbits. According to Kepler s first law, the planets orbit the sun at one focus of an ellipse. The second law states that if an imaginary line is drawn from the sun to the planet, the line will sweep out equal areas in space in equal periods of time for all points in the orbit. The third law states that the ratio of the cube of the semimajor axis of the ellipse (i.e., the average distance of the planet from the sun) to the square of the planet’s Martinez 4period (the time it needs to complete one revolution around the sun) is the same for all the planets.What else Kepler is noted for?In 1596 he wrote Mysterium cosmographicum, which led to exchanges with Galileo and Tycho Brahe. Kepler proved that sight was by the reception of light rays in the eye (1604), and wrote on the optics of the telescope, introducing the design using two convex lenses (1611). He also wrote on the new star of 1604 (now called “Kepler’s supernova”) (1606), and sent Galileo an enthusiastic seal of approval of his telescopic discoveries (in an open letter published in 1610). Kepler’s Epitome astronomiae copernicanae (1618 to 1621) became a widely used textbook. His Rudolphine Tables (1627), based on Tycho’s observations and Kepler’s laws, proved to be accurate over a long time scale. Their success did much to gain general acceptance for heliocentric astronomy.The significance of Kepler s work He is often called the founder of modern optics for his first use of eyeglassesdesigned for nearsightedness and farsightedness, his explanations of vision by refraction within the eyes, and his explanation of the use of both eyes for depth perception. Furthermore, he explained the principles of the telescope. His book Stereometrica Doliorum formed the basis of integral calculus. He was the first to explain that the tides are caused by the Moon (Galileo rebuked him for this). First to use stellar parallax caused by the Earth’s orbit to try to measure the distance to the stars; the same principle as depth perception. First to suggest that the Sun rotates about its axis in Astronomia Nova First to Martinez 5derive the birth year of Christ, that is now universally accepted. Moreover, Kepler and his laws played an important part in the work of the 17th century English astronomer, mathematician, and physicist Sir Isaac Newton. Kepler s laws are essential for the understanding of the orbital paths of the moons. Without his laws, the paths of man made satellites launched from the Earth without the experimental work of Kepler, we may have never accomplished so much today.My personal views about Kepler Kepler was a brilliant and intelligent individual. He didn t come from an aristocratic family and experienced many hardships. His father leaving the family, his mother was accused of witchcraft, and his premature birth all combined to tried to prevent from becoming arguably the greatest scientist of his generation. Johannes Kepler should be an inspiration to all of us. Kepler embodied the genius within him and was able to advance the human race. Without his findings, some of our technology would not be available today. Martinez 6BibliographyArmitage, Angus. John Kepler. Roy Publishers Inc. 1966.”Kepler, Johannes,” Microsoft Encarta 96 Encyclopedia (c) 1993-1995, Microsoft Corporation.Knight, David C. Johannes Kepler + Planetary Motion. Franklin Watts, Inc. 1962.Lear, John. Kepler s Dream. UC Press 1965.Ronan, Colin. Edmond Halley, Genius in Eclipse. New York: Doubleday & Co. 1969.

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