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Johannes Kepler
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Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler, a notable scientist in the 17th century was a mathematician, astronomer and astrologer of German origin. He is well known for his laws on planetary motion. Kepler was born in an era which knew little about astronomy or astrology.

Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler, despite this, invented an advanced form of the refracting telescope which was called the Keplerian Telescope. Kepler introduced a new kind of astronomy and called it "celestial physics".

Kepler was born to Heinrich Kepler and Katharina Guldenmann on December 27, 1571 in the German state of Baden - Wurttemberg. His father was a mercenary and was said to have lost his life during the Eighty Years War. Johannes was a frail child when he was young but he had an astounding knowledge of mathematics.

He developed a liking for astronomy when he was about six years old. His exposure to the Great Comet of 1577 and a lunar eclipse in 1580 further lifted his interest in the subject. After his initial years of schooling, Kepler attended Tubinger Stift at the University Of Tubingen.

He showed himself to be a good mathematician and a competent astrologer. He mastered both the Ptolemaic system and the Copernicus system of planetary motion. After his studies he took up a teaching job at the Protestant School in Graz, Austria.

Mysterium Cosmographicum was the first astronomical work published by Kepler in which he defended that the theories of Copernicus were true and accurate. Kepler's mentor, Michael Maestlin helped him to publish his first manuscript.

In 1596, Mysterium was published and Kepler began sending copies of his manuscript to eminent personalities. Though this was not very popular, it lifted the status of Kepler and many regarded him as a good astronomer. Kepler published a second edition of the Mysterium in 1621.

The publication of Mysterium increased the confidence of Kepler and he started making plans to extend his research. He sought the help of many mathematicians and this helped him to gain the support and the favor of Tycho Brahe, a notable mathematician. After a series of bitter incidents between the two of them, Kepler and Tycho agreed to work together.

But things still did not work out for Kepler. Finally he was given a post of collaborator by Tycho on a new project that was proposed to the emperor Rudolph II. But Tycho died later that year and Kepler was appointed his successor and pinned with the responsibility of completing the work initiated by Tycho.

Kepler's responsibility was to give astrological advice to the emperor. The emperor too consulted Kepler at times of political disharmony. Emperor Rudolph closely monitored the astronomical work of Kepler.

Apart from carrying out the unfinished work of Tycho, Kepler also took efforts to expand his knowledge of astronomy. This led him to publish several other books that gave a clear picture of the solar system and its components. Kepler completed the Rudolphine Tables in 1623 which was the unfinished work of Tycho Brahe. But it was published only in 1627 on account of internal conflicts and change of governments.

Kepler died on November 15th 1630 owing to illness. Kepler's theories were not accepted by many astrologers and mathematicians in the beginning. But after years of testing his planetary model and studying his manuscripts, some scientists proved that Keper's work was accurate. Kepler is regarded by many as the first astrophysicist and the last scientific astrologer.

Rumor has it

Kepler was actually the first pseudo scientist to come up with the theory of wormholes throughout the universe. In his model made out of Campbell soup cans, Play-Doh and Styrofoam orbs, the wormholes were filled with actual worms, or night crawlers to be more precise.

Written by Kevin Lepton