Kepler published the most systematic of his astronomical works, the Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae , in three sections between and It was intended for the student, and written in the form of questions and answers. This book was virtually free of the observational reports and parameter derivations which characterized advanced treatises such as the Almagest and De revolutionibus. Unable to display preview.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The brilliant German mathematician Johannes Kepler , one of the founders of modern astronomy, revolutionized the Copernican heliocentric theory of the universe with his three laws of motion: that the planets move not in circular but elliptical orbits, that their speed is greatest when nearest the sun, and that the sun and planets form an integrated system.
This The brilliant German mathematician Johannes Kepler , one of the founders of modern astronomy, revolutionized the Copernican heliocentric theory of the universe with his three laws of motion: that the planets move not in circular but elliptical orbits, that their speed is greatest when nearest the sun, and that the sun and planets form an integrated system.
This volume contains two of his most important works: The Epitome of Copernican Astronomy books 4 and 5 of which are translated here is a textbook of Copernican science, remarkable for the prominence given to physical astronomy and for the extension to the Jovian system of the laws recently discovered to regulate the motions of the Planets.
Harmonies of the World book 5 of which is translated here expounds an elaborate system of celestial harmonies depending on the varying velocities of the planets. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published November 1st by Prometheus Books first published More Details Original Title.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 14, Roy Lotz rated it liked it Shelves: ignorance-of-experts , history-of-science , eurotrip , over-my-head. Thomas Kuhn switched from studying physics to the history of science when, after teaching a course on outdated scientific models, he discovered that his notion of scientific progress was completely mistaken. As I plow through these old classics in my lackadaisical fashion, I am coming to the same conclusion.
Now I discover that Johannes Kepler, one of the heroes of modern science, was also something of a crackpot. The mythical image of the ideal scientist, patiently observing, cataloguing, calculating—a person solely concerned with the empirical facts—could not be further removed from Kepler.
Few people in history had such a fecund and overactive imagination. Every new observation suggested a dozen theories to his feverish mind, not all of them testable. When Galileo published his Siderius Nuncius , for example, announcing the presence of moons orbiting Jupiter, Kepler immediately concluded that there must be life on Jupiter—and, why not, on all the other planets.
Kepler even has a claim of being the first science-fiction writer, with his book Somnium , describing how the earth would appear to inhabitants of the moon though Lucian of Samothrace, writing in the 2nd Century AD, seems to have priority with his fantastical novella, A True Story. Gone are the verbal categories of Aristotle; and in comes the modern notion that nature is the manifestation of numerical harmonies. And he had ample data with which to test his speculations, since he was bequeathed the voluminous observations of his former mentor, Tycho Brahe.
As many a statistician has learned, if you crunch enough numbers and enough variables, you will eventually stumble upon a serendipitous correlation. But what does this explain? And how does this help calculation? Jupiter and Saturn are the basses, of course, while Mars is the tenor, Earth and Venus the altos, and Mercury the soprano.
He then suggests though vaguely that there are beings on the sun, capable of sensing this heavenly music. The composer Laurie Spiegel created a piece in which she recreates this music; it is not exactly Bach.
Once more, we naturally ask: What would all this speculation on music and harmonies explain? And once more, the answer is nothing.
But the fact remains that Kepler was one of the great scientific geniuses of history. He was writing in a sort of interim period between the fall of Aristotelian science and the rise of Newtonian physics, a time when the mind of Europe was completely untethered to any recognizable paradigm, free to luxuriate in speculation. Most people in such circumstances would produce nothing but nonsense; but Kepler managed to invent astrophysics.
What gives Kepler a claim to this title was his conception of a scientific law though he did not put it as such. Astronomers from Ptolemy to Copernicus used schemes to predict planetary movements; but there was no one underlying principle which could explain everything.
The first of these was the seemingly simple but revolutionary insight that planets orbit in ellipses, with the sun at one of the foci. It is commonly said that previous astronomers preferred circles for petty metaphysical reasons, seeing them as perfect. But there were other reasons, too. Most obviously, the mathematics of shapes inscribed in circles was well-understood; this was the basis of trigonometry. Yet the use of circles to track orbits that, in reality, are not circular, created some problems.
Thus in the Ptolemaic system the astronomer used one circle the eccentric for the distance, and another, overlapping circle the equant for the speed. When these were combined with the epicycles used to explain retrogression the resultant orbits, though composed of perfect circles, were anything but circular.
It was this innovation that made the Copernican system so much more efficient than the Ptolemaic one. For when a planet is closest to the sun at perihelion it is moving its fastest; and when it is furthest at aphelion it is slowest; and this creates a constant ratio which is the result of the conserved angular momentum of each planet.
Even so, I think that Kepler moved far beyond all previous astronomy with these insights, jumping from observed and analyzed regularities to general principles. For the orbital size Kepler used half the major axis of the ellipse. Kepler, being the man he was, used this mathematical constant to fuel his metaphysical speculations. The reason I cannot rate this collection any higher is that Kepler is extremely tiresome to read. In his more lucid moments, his imaginative energy is charming.
But much of the book consists of whole paragraphs of ratio after ratio, shape after shape, number after number, and so it is easy to get lost or bored. Since I have a decent grasp of music theory, I thought I might be able to get something out of his Harmonies of the World , but I found even that section mostly opaque, swirling in obscure and impenetrable reasoning.
View all 8 comments. Apr 16, Devon Flaherty rated it liked it. When I ran the randomizer on my list of like a million books, I just knew the first one would be some technical doozy. And the Debbie Downer inside of me was not wrong. Remember, one of my rules was that I would make it through every book word-by-word except for technical tomes. Right away, I learned something that I put to use. If I am going to read th When I ran the randomizer on my list of like a million books, I just knew the first one would be some technical doozy.
Therefore, I immediately ordered a preview copy of one of my next books—a Newton title—in its soon-to-be-released commentary version. Lesson learned. Now, for the book itself. I think we need to start with some history. Kepler was officially a teacher and a mathematician to royalty, as well as an assistant to astronomer Tycho Brahe.
Kepler himself considered Harmonies of the World aka. Harmony of the World or Harmonices Mundi to be his greatest work. He certainly seems excited in his writing. He builds his arguments on the Platonic Solids, irrational numbers think pi , and harmonic intervals like the ratio of a C to its octave and a fifth.
Are there harmonic ratios in the distance between planets? Conclusion: no. How about their velocities? Well, yes, it does appear so, both individually and converging and diverging. And since movement best approximates music, this makes perfect sense to Kepler. Kepler was not overly well received in the immediate.
His theories were largely ignored by those in prominence in science. After some well-documented, third-party tests however, some scientists began pulling for a Keplerian model of astronomy.
By , his was the most used textbook in astronomy, which set Kepler up to be the building block for Newtonian theory and its culmination in Principia Mathematica which, by sheer coincidence, I will be reading this summer. Besides all the boring numbers, the constant use of the run-on sentence, and the obvious issues with advances of science like, he thinks there are only six planets and the universe orbits around the sun , it was interesting to witness his pure enthusiasm and conviction.
I would not recommend this book for reading, unless you are or are studying to be an astronomer, physicist, geometrician, science historian, or musical theorist. And if you really want to read it, accompany it with some sort of commentary or history.
Epitome of Copernican Astronomy and Harmonies of the World
Epitome of Copernican Astronomy
The Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae was an astronomy book on the heliocentric system published by Johannes Kepler in the period to The book contained in particular the first version in print of his third law of planetary motion. The work was intended as a textbook, and the first part was written by The term " inertia " was first introduced in the Epitome. The first volume was put on the Index of Prohibited Books on 28th of February From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Courier Dover Publications.
Mathematical Treasures - Kepler's Epitome of Astronomy