Who is Johannes Kepler?June 25, 2021
Johannes Kepler (27 December 1571 – 15 November 1630) was a German astronomer, physicist and mathematician.
Born on December 27, 1571, in Wiel der Stadt, Württemberg, Germany, the daughter of a poor mercenary and an innkeeper, Kepler suffered from various health problems after contracting smallpox at the age of four. Kepler’s eyes were deteriorated due to illness and his hands were injured, and it was decided by his family to become a clergyman.
Despite his childhood spent in great poverty, Kepler, who stood out with his intelligence in his student life and showed great success, completed his education at the University of Tübingen in 1588, with the help of the Duke of Württemberg, and completed his master’s degree at the same school in 1591.
It was an important turning point in Kepler’s life when Michael Mästlin, who was among the rare advocates of Copernicus’ heliocentric system, followed the astronomy classes in Tübingen and adopted this system.
Kepler, who left his theology education in the last year of his religious education, was appointed as a mathematics teacher at the Lutheran high school in Graz, and started researches on the structure of the universe in Graz, where he was in 1594.
Trying to show the mathematical harmony that he believed to exist in the universe under the influence of Plato’s philosophy and Pythagorean mathematics, Kepler thought of using five regular prisms known as “Plato Bodies” in order to achieve this goal. Kepler’s view, which claimed that the spheres on which these six planets revolved are nested within each other, with five Platonic bodies between them, on the Copernican astronomy, which accepts six planets, each of which orbits on a sphere, was supported by his first work, Prodromus Dissertationum Mathematicarum Continens Mysterium Cosmographicum. It was the main subject of his first work, (Forerunner of Mathematical Investigation into the Secrets of the Universe).
Kepler, who sent this first book to famous scientists of the time, including Tycho Brahe, was invited by Brahe, who was appointed to the imperial mathematician at that time, to join the research group at the observatory in Graz, near Prague. Kepler, who was forced to leave the city by the Protestants there and left Graz, later went back to Brahe in 1600 and took on the task of assistant to Brahe.
Following the death of Brahe the following year, Holy Roman-Germanic emperor II. Kepler, who was appointed imperial mathematician by Rudolf, became famous for his astrological predictions, despite rejecting the superstition that the stars direct people’s lives in his second book, De Fundamentis Astrologiae Certioribus (Reliable Foundations of Astrology), published in 1601. .
Given the task of studying Mars in Tycho Brahe’s research group, Kepler initially thought it necessary to study the refraction of light in the atmosphere. Kepler described the results of his research on how light rays from celestial bodies in outer space are refracted when they enter the dense layer of air surrounding the Earth, in his book Ad Vitellionem Paralipomena Quibus Astronomiae Pars Optica Traditur (Appendix to Vitellio on the Study of Optical Subjects in Astronomy), published in 1604. By synthesizing the views of ‘s, he also worked on non-circular orbits and reached correct results. In addition, Kepler provided information about the structure and working of the human eye in this book and formed the basis of subsequent studies. Glasses were known and used 300 years before Kepler, but it was Kepler who was the first to explain how these curved glasses provide proper vision.
Kepler, who had the opportunity to observe a supernova that emerged in October 1604 for 17 months while examining the rare occurrence of Mars, Saturn and Jupiter in their conjunction, said that there may be displacements and movements in the stellar realm, which has been accepted as absolutely unchanging since Antiquity. He wrote about these observations, which provided evidence, in his book De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarii (New Star at the Foot of the Ophiuchus Constellation), which he published in 1606.
His book, Astronomia Nova (New Astronomy), published in 1609, broke new ground in astronomy, in which he described the orbit of Mars as elliptical rather than circular.
After the discovery of the telescope was announced by Galileo Galileo, Kepler, who wrote a book describing the optical working principles of this instrument, sent a copy of this book to Galilei in 1610, but the book was ignored by Galileo.
The work left by Brahe, who was the most important observer of the pre-telescope era, was a legacy. Kepler, who worked on the results of these observations for years, started to work on circular orbits by taking advantage of Copernicus’ thoughts and reached correct results. Mars is in an elliptical orbit with the Sun at one of its foci.