Kepler’s Physical Astronomy

Springer Science & Business Media
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Kepler's Physical Astronomy is an account of Kepler's reformulation of astronomy as a physical science, and of his successful use of (incorrect) physics as a guide in his astronomical discoveries. It presents the only reliable account of the internal logic of Kepler's so-called first and second laws, showing how and to what extent Kepler thought he had derived them from his physical principles. It explains for the first time Kepler's attempt to use an obscure discovery of Tycho Brahe to unify and confirm all of his own physical theories. It also describes the intricate (and neglected) theory which Kepler developed to account for the additional anomalies needed for the theory of the moon.
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Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 6, 2012
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Pages
218
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ISBN
9781461387374
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Mathematics / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Bruce Stephenson
Valued today for its development of the third law of planetary motion, Harmonice mundi (1619) was intended by Kepler to expand on ancient efforts to discern a Creator's plan for the planetary system--an arrangement thought to be based on harmonic relationships. Challenging critics who characterize Kepler's theories of harmonic astronomy as "mystical," Bruce Stephenson offers the first thorough technical analysis of the music the astronomer thought the heavens made, and the logic that led him to find musical patterns in his data. In so doing, Stephenson illuminates crucial aspects of Kepler's intellectual development, particularly his ways of classifying and drawing inferences.

Beginning with a survey of similar theories associating music with the cyclic motions of planets, from Plato to Boethius, the author highlights Ptolemy's Harmonics, a source of inspiration for Kepler's later work. Turning to Kepler himself, Stephenson gives an account of his polyhedral theory, which explains the number and sizes of the planetary orbits in terms of the five regular poly-hedral. He then examines in detail an early theory that relates the planets' vel-ocities to a musical chord, and analyzes Kepler's unpublished commentary on Ptolemy's Harmonics. Devoting most of his attention to Book Five of Harmonice mundi, in which Kepler elaborated on the musical structure of the planetary system, Stephenson lays important groundwork for any further evaluation of Kepler's scientific thought.

Originally published in 1994.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Max Caspar
A towering figure in intellectual history and one of the fathers of modern astronomy, the great mathematician Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) is best known for his discovery of the three laws of planetary motion, which paved the way for a dynamic explanation of the heavenly phenomena. At a time when the Ptolemaic view still prevailed in official circles, Kepler undertook to prove the truth of the Copernican world view and through exceptional perseverance and force of intellect achieved that goal.
His epochal intellectual feats are completely and thoroughly described in this splendid work, considered the definitive biography of Kepler. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, the author presents a fascinating and erudite picture of Kepler's scientific accomplishments, his public life (work with Tycho Brahe, the Danish astronomer; mathematical appointments at Graz, Prague, and Linz; pioneering work with calculus and optics, and more) and his personal life: childhood and youth, financial situation, his mother's trial as a witch, his own lifelong fear of religious persecution, his difficulties in choosing one of eleven possible young women as his second wife, and more, through his last years in Ulm and death in Regensburg.
Until his death in 1956, Professor Max Caspar was the world's foremost Kepler scholar. He had spent over two-thirds of his life assembling, cataloging, describing, analyzing, and editing Kepler's works. To this biography he brought tremendous learning and passionate enthusiasm for his subject, creating an unsurpassed resource on the life and work of one of history's greatest scientific minds. Originally published in German and superbly translated into English by C. Doris Hellman, Kepler will fascinate scholars and general readers alike.
James A. Connor
Set against the backdrop of the witchcraft trial of his mother, this lively biography of Johannes Kepler – 'the Protestant Galileo' and 16th century mathematician and astronomer – reveals the surprisingly spiritual nature of the quest of early modern science.

In the style of Dava Sobel's Galileo's Daughter, Connor's book brings to life the tidal forces of Reformation, Counter–Reformation, and social upheaval. Johannes Kepler, who discovered the three basic laws of planetary motion, was persecuted for his support of the Copernican system. After a neighbour accused his mother of witchcraft, Kepler quit his post as the Imperial mathematician to defend her.

James Connor tells Kepler's story as a pilgrimage, a spiritual journey into the modern world through war and disease and terrible injustice, a journey reflected in the evolution of Kepler's geometrical model of the cosmos into a musical model, harmony into greater harmony. The leitmotif of the witch trial adds a third dimension to Kepler's biography by setting his personal life within his own times. The acts of this trial, including Kepler's letters and the accounts of the witnesses, although published in their original German dialects, had never before been translated into English. Echoing some of Dava Sobel's work for Galileo's Daughter, Connor has translated the witch trial documents into English. With a great respect for the history of these times and the life of this man, Connor's accessible story illuminates the life of Kepler, the man of science, but also Kepler, a man of uncommon faith and vision.

Bruce Stephenson
Valued today for its development of the third law of planetary motion, Harmonice mundi (1619) was intended by Kepler to expand on ancient efforts to discern a Creator's plan for the planetary system--an arrangement thought to be based on harmonic relationships. Challenging critics who characterize Kepler's theories of harmonic astronomy as "mystical," Bruce Stephenson offers the first thorough technical analysis of the music the astronomer thought the heavens made, and the logic that led him to find musical patterns in his data. In so doing, Stephenson illuminates crucial aspects of Kepler's intellectual development, particularly his ways of classifying and drawing inferences.

Beginning with a survey of similar theories associating music with the cyclic motions of planets, from Plato to Boethius, the author highlights Ptolemy's Harmonics, a source of inspiration for Kepler's later work. Turning to Kepler himself, Stephenson gives an account of his polyhedral theory, which explains the number and sizes of the planetary orbits in terms of the five regular poly-hedral. He then examines in detail an early theory that relates the planets' vel-ocities to a musical chord, and analyzes Kepler's unpublished commentary on Ptolemy's Harmonics. Devoting most of his attention to Book Five of Harmonice mundi, in which Kepler elaborated on the musical structure of the planetary system, Stephenson lays important groundwork for any further evaluation of Kepler's scientific thought.

Originally published in 1994.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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