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Johannes Kepler and the New Astronomy (Oxford Portraits in Science) Paperback – October 11, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Series: Oxford Portraits in Science
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019515021X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195150216
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,400,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Readable biography... Excellent boxed sections explain the astronomer's three Laws of Planetary Motion with clear diagrams.... Enhanced with fascinating and informative reproductions, including facsimiles of Kepler's writings.... An enjoyable introduction to a complex scientific life."--School Library Journal


About the Author

James R. Voelkel, The Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Cambridge Massachusetts.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Kepler is the middle third of the great triumvirate of physicists that led humanity from a point where little was known about planetary motion to where nearly all was known. The first was Galileo Galilei and the last was Isaac Newton. Kepler contributed the three laws of planetary motion that are now named after him. They are:

*) The planets follow elliptical orbits about the sun.

*) The line connecting the planet to the sun sweeps out equal areas over equal times.

*) The square of the period of an orbit divided by the cube of the mean distance is a constant.

While Copernicus published the first convincing heliocentric theory, it was Kepler who gave the theory a mathematical foundation based on the years of accurate observations made by Tycho Brahe. It was his work that convinced the learned world that the planets orbited the sun.

When reading the history of Kepler, it is astonishing that he managed to be successful. He suffered from poor health, petty jealousies, lack of income, the death of some of his children, major religious persecution, plague and a war that devastated central Europe. He lived in a time of major religious conflict as the Reformation had moved strongly forward and the Counter-Reformation was responding violently. Kepler was a Protestant and remained so under the real threat of banishment and even death. Approximately one third of the people in central Europe perished during the widespread destruction of the thirty years war, which went on around Kepler. He was once trapped in a city placed under siege by Protestant forces and when told he must convert to Catholicism or be banished, he chose to leave.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By skeptic on November 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
after reading this book you can't help but feel for this man... the tremendous upheavels he went through always worried about religious persecution but escaping it because of his position at court... but it gives a genuine feel of 'escaping by the skin of one's teeth'

then his many moves from city to city, taking family with him, all the deaths of family including children he endured and always religiously devout, believing in God and not one creed or another, always putting his heart and soul into his labors...

a remarkable story or a pious, honest, hard working, brilliant man of his times... it would have been a deep honor to know this man
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm in the process of doing some research for my own work, and needed something with better data in it than Wikipedia. The key things I was looking for when I gave up on the internet and looked for actual books were the specifics surrounding the deaths of his first two children. In this book I immediately found exact dates and circumstances.

If you're looking for a general study of Johannes Kepler you can certainly get enough information from a combination of Wikipedia and Episode 3 of Cosmos. If you're looking for better detail with precise dates and more color, then I can't recommend this book more highly.

Though I originally planned on using it for its reference offerings, I ended up reading through it in a few hours. It filled in a lot of holes for me. If Mr Voelkel ever writes a similar book on Tycho Brahe I'll buy it immediately.
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