Johannes Kepler was born in 1571, in the middle of the scientific revolution. He was a German astronomer, astrologer, and mathematician. His father abandoned him in his early childhood, and it took him twice as long as usual to complete the elementary school. Kepler finally graduated and joined a theological seminary before joining the University of Tuebingen. At the university, Kepler was distracted from his goal of pursuing a graduate degree in theology. A Protestant school offered him a job as a math and astronomy professor, although he initially believed that he lacked special skills in these subjects. As a professor, Kepler turned his attention toward deciphering the universe mysteries. He was essentially convinced that God made the universe with various discernable structure or pattern, and he dedicated himself in understanding what it might be. This presentation centers on Kepler contributions to the scientific revolution.
Kepler was an important figure in the 17th C scientific revolution. Many recognize Kepler for his laws of planetary motion based on a number of his works including Harmonices Mundi, Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, and Astronomia nova. According to Kepler, the planets were spaced because the planetary orbits were arranged around the geometric figures (Connor, 28). Geometric figures are three-dimensional figures with identical sides, and Kepler was persuaded that God used these forms to create the universe. Kepler used his first book, the Cosmic Mystery to elaborate on this view. This theory was incorrect, but his book was the first key work in backing of Copernican system. His book was also important, as he was the first key astronomer to address the physical reality, instead of being content with just a mathematical explanation of the universe.
As Kepler needed a more accurate data source, he went to Prague to work with Tycho de Brahe, a best observational astronomer. Brahe died after one year, but for the subsequent seven years, Kepler continued working on the problem that he had started that is, constructing Mars orbit. His work on Mars made him to discover his initial two planetary laws. The first law was that planets travel in the elliptical orbits and that these planets sweep out same areas of their orbits in similar times. It was in 1609 that he published his results in the Astronomia Nova, revolutionizing the astronomy and significantly simplifying the Copernican system.
In Europe, many considered him as among the top astronomers. However, only a small number of his peers recognized his planetary laws importance. Kepler researched lenses and astronomy for a number of years, and this added various contributions to optics field. Despite the death of his wife and son, he continued working toward his highest goal that is, finding a way to describe the universe structure (Barker, Peter and Bernard, 100). After some years of thought, Kepler discovered the universal harmonies theory. He decided that all the planets were spaced around harmonic ration of the other set of the geometrical figures. Again, his theory was wrong.
He published the Harmonice Mundi in 1618. In this publication, he explained his fresh harmonic theory. His third law provided a particular mathematical relationship between a planet’s orbit distance from the sun and the time a planet took to circle the sun (Connor, 38). Nonetheless, he thought little of this third planetary law just like his peers, as it made insignificant sense to him during that time. The significance of this theory turned out to be clear when Sir Isaac Newton generated the universal gravitational theory.
He continued publishing important works, and in 1619, Kepler published the Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae, which summarized Copernican system. This publication was adjusted to accommodate his laws. Again, in 1627, he published the Rudolphine Tables, which was a comprehensive list of astronomical predictions, observations, and explanations, and were all based on his discoveries and Brahe’s data. His final publication, the Somnium, came a few years after he died. The scientific revolutions by Kepler are difficult to simplify than those of Newton or Copernicus. Nevertheless, astronomy and physics had been separated for over 2000 years before he was born, and it was an incredible leap for him to combine the two. In doing so, Kepler paved the way for Newtonian revolution.
Barker, Peter and Bernard R. Goldstein: "Theological Foundations of Kepler's Astronomy". Osiris, Volume 16. Science in Theistic Contexts. University of Chicago Press, 2001, pp. 88–113,
Connor, James A. Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother. HarperSanFrancisco, 2004. Print.