Johannes Kepler Essay

927 words - 4 pages

Johannes Kepler was born on December 27, 1571 to Heinrich and Katharina in Württemberg, Germany. Heinrich was the owner of the local tavern, and utilized young Johannes as a pot-boy. In the days of his youth, Kepler was often quite ill for one reason or another, leading him to be quite frail and somewhat saddened. After witnessing the Great Comet of 1577, at age 6, Kepler acquired a fondness for astronomy; seeing the lunar eclipse in 1580 also contributed to this great interest. In addition to his strong interest in all things astronomical, young Johannes was rather good at math. Heinrich and Katharina sent Johannes to monastic school where he went to seminaries in both Adelburg and Maulbronn (SciencLives). From these seminaries, Kepler transitioned to Tubinger Stift at the University of Tubingen (Germany). In university, Kepler mastered both the Ptolemaic and Copernicus Systems of planetary motion. During his time at university, young Johannes studied theology, mathematics, and philosophy. At age 22, Kepler graduated second on the list at the school and was appointed professor, then moved to Gratz, Austria, to instruct mathematics and astronomy (ScienceLives).
Next, Kepler migrated to Prague in 1599 in order to become Tycho Brahe’s assistant. Brahe instructed Johannes to complete his tables on planetary motion, and upon his death in 1601 the tables were completed. Kepler eventually gathered enough money to publish these tables, and thus produced the first tables that were accurate for navigators to make use of (Westman). Later, Kepler began experimentations on planetary motion (ScienceLives). At last, Johannes figured out the elliptical model still in used today. The three great laws of planetary motion discovered by Kepler are as follows; 1) The orbit of each planet is an ellipse, with the sun at a focus 2) The line joining the planet to the sun sweeps out equal areas in equal times and 3) The square of the period of the planet is proportional to the cube of its mean distance to the sun. The first and second laws were published in Astronomia Nova in 1609, and the third was published in 1619 in Harmonices Mundi (ScienceLives).
Someone once said of Kepler, “…Here was a genius spoilt of mathematics for mathematics by his interest in astronomy”. Although it would seem as if Kepler was great with mathematics, but did not pursue it, Kepler made many contributions to the wonderful world of math. For example, Kepler introduced quite a few theories into the field of geometry (Westman). Kepler theorized that the five regular solids (the platonic solids) represented the orbits of the planets known in his time. In addition, Kepler sophisticated the properties of the thirteen semi-regular solids of Archimedes. Whenever Kepler observed the light coming from distant stars, he proposed that those...

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