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The Composition of Kepler's

The Composition of Kepler's "Astronomia nova"

Hardcover

Published: 18th November 2001
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This is one of the most important studies in decades on Johannes Kepler, among the towering figures in the history of astronomy. Drawing extensively on Kepler's correspondence and manuscripts, James Voelkel reveals that the strikingly unusual style of Kepler's magnum opus, "Astronomia nova" (1609), has been traditionally misinterpreted. Kepler laid forth the first two of his three laws of planetary motion in this work. Instead of a straightforward presentation of his results, however, he led readers on a wild goose chase, recounting the many errors and false starts he had experienced. This had long been deemed a ''confessional'' mirror of the daunting technical obstacles Kepler faced. As Voelkel amply demonstrates, it is not.

Voelkel argues that Kepler's style can be understood only in the context of the circumstances in which the book was written. Starting with Kepler's earliest writings, he traces the development of the astronomer's ideas of how the planets were moved by a force from the sun and how this could be expressed mathematically. And he shows how Kepler's once broader research program was diverted to a detailed examination of the motion of Mars. Above all, Voelkel shows that Kepler was well aware of the harsh reception his work would receive--both from Tycho Brahe's heirs and from contemporary astronomers; and how this led him to an avowedly rhetorical pseudo-historical presentation of his results. In treating Kepler at last as a figure in time and not as independent of it, this work will be welcomed by historians of science, astronomers, and historians.

"Voelkel ... offers great reading for the Johannes Kepler aficionado."--Choice "An exceptional and important contribution to history of science studies"--Rhonda Martens, Renaissance Quarterly

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Introductionp. 1
The Mysterium Cosmographicump. 11
The Copernican Contextp. 13
The Development of the Mysterium cosmographicump. 26
The Mysterium cosmographicump. 46
Responses to the Mysterium cosmographicump. 60
The Astronomia Novap. 93
Kepler and Tychop. 97
Kepler's Work after Tycho's Deathp. 130
The Tychonicsp. 142
David Fabriciusp. 170
The Rhetorical Character of the Astronomia novap. 211
Conclusionp. 247
Notesp. 255
Bibliograpbyp. 295
Indexp. 301
Index of Correspondencep. 307
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691007380
ISBN-10: 0691007381
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 328
Published: 18th November 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.03 x 16.61  x 2.69
Weight (kg): 0.63