Physics

Johannes Kepler


Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630) was born on December 27, 1571 in southern Germany, within a Protestant family. With the help of a scholarship, he entered the University of Tübingen in 1589, where he learned Greek, Hebrew, astronomy, physics and mathematics. At an early age he became a mathematics teacher at a Protestant college in Austria and in 1596 published his first work, "Mysterium Cosmographicum".

Between 1617 and 1621 published seven volumes of the "Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae", work that became the most important introduction to heliocentric astronomy, contradicted the Aristotelian conception of the universe, at the time defended by the Catholic Church. He has also authored several scientific articles on optics, astronomy and mathematics. It is noteworthy the coexistence he had with the prestigious Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who was to succeed, on his death in October 1601, as court mathematician. With this succession, Kepler had access to data from Tycho Brahe that allowed him, after several attempts, to determine the laws of planetary motion and to gain a prominent place in the development of astronomy.

Kepler's many calculations were facilitated by the emergence of Neper's logarithms, and Kepler was the first to publish a rigorous explanation of them. Thus were very strict the astronomical tables that came to publish, the "Tabulae Rudolphinae". Studying the problem of determining the volume of a wine cask, Kepler, using methods based on Archimedes, came to collaborate in the early days of infinitesimal calculus.

During his lifetime, Kepler was repeatedly persecuted by the Catholic Counter-Reformation. In 1626 his house was burned, which led him to leave Austria and take refuge in Germany, where he printed the “Tabulae Rudolphinae”, published in 1627. He died in Regensburg, Germany on 15 November 1630 with 58 years old. He had a bright future ahead of him as an astronomer.