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Johannes Kepler

Geburtstag: 27. Dezember 1571
Todesdatum: 15. November 1630

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Johannes Kepler war ein deutscher Naturphilosoph, Mathematiker, Astronom, Astrologe, Optiker und evangelischer Theologe.

Von 1594 bis 1600 war Kepler Landschaftsmathematiker in Graz, das heißt, Mathematiker des Landes Steiermark. Er unterrichtete Mathematik an der protestantischen Stiftsschule, die der katholischen Universität von Graz gegenüberstand. In Prag war er zunächst Assistent von Tycho Brahe , dann kaiserlicher Mathematiker unter Rudolf II. Diese Stellung behielt er unter Rudolfs Nachfolgern Matthias I. und Ferdinand II. bis 1627. Von 1612 bis 1626 wirkte er zusätzlich als Landschaftsmathematiker in Linz. Zuletzt diente er General Wallenstein als astrologischer Berater.

Johannes Kepler entdeckte die Gesetzmäßigkeiten, nach denen sich Planeten um die Sonne bewegen. Sie werden nach ihm Keplersche Gesetze genannt. Er machte die Optik zum Gegenstand wissenschaftlicher Untersuchung und bestätigte die Entdeckungen, die sein Zeitgenosse Galileo Galilei mit dem Teleskop gemacht hatte. Kepler zählt damit zu den Begründern der modernen Naturwissenschaften. Mit seiner Einführung in das Rechnen mit Logarithmen trug Kepler zur Verbreitung dieser Rechenart bei. In der Mathematik wurde ein numerisches Verfahren zur Berechnung von Integralen nach ihm Keplersche Fassregel benannt.

Seine Entdeckung der drei Planetengesetze machte aus dem mittelalterlichen Weltbild, in dem körperlose Wesen die Planeten einschließlich Sonne in stetiger Bewegung hielten, ein dynamisches System, in dem die Sonne durch Fernwirkung die Planeten aktiv beeinflusst. Er selbst allerdings nannte sie nie „Gesetze“; sie waren in seinen Augen vielmehr Ausdruck der Weltharmonie, die der Schöpfer seinem Werk mitgegeben hatte. Aus seiner Sicht war es auch göttliche Vorsehung, die den Theologiestudenten zum Studium der Gestirne führte. Die natürliche Welt war ihm ein Spiegel, in dem die göttlichen Ideen sichtbar werden konnten, der gottgeschaffene menschliche Geist dazu da, sie zu erkennen und zu preisen.

Kepler ging von dem Gedanken ab, das kopernikanische System sei lediglich ein Modell zur einfacheren Berechnung der Planetenpositionen. Das heliozentrische Weltbild als eine physikalische Tatsache zu sehen, stieß nicht nur bei der katholischen Kirche, sondern auch bei Keplers protestantischen Vorgesetzten auf erbitterten Widerstand. Denn auf beiden Seiten galten die Lehren von Aristoteles und Ptolemäus als unantastbar.

Dass Kepler auch eine ganzheitliche Philosophie vertrat, hebt u. a. der Historiker Volker Bialas hervor. Als theologisch gebildeter Astronom war eines der Hauptmotive seiner Arbeit, „Priester am Buch der Natur“ zu sein, und in Glaubensfragen und den Streitigkeiten der Reformationszeit äußerte er sich mehrmals in versöhnlicher Weise.

Zitate Johannes Kepler

„I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.“

— Johannes Kepler
As quoted in (K)new Words: Redefine Your Communication (2005) by Gloria Pierre, p. 147

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„Of a number of variant hypotheses about the same facts, that one is true which shows why facts, which in the other hypotheses remain unrelated, are as they are, i.e., which demonstrates their orderly and rational mathematical connexion.“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: Of a number of variant hypotheses about the same facts, that one is true which shows why facts, which in the other hypotheses remain unrelated, are as they are, i. e., which demonstrates their orderly and rational mathematical connexion. Vol. I, p. 238

„I reply in a single word to the sentiments of the saints on these questions about nature; in theology, to be sure, the force of authorities is to be weighed, in philosophy, however, that of causes“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: Indeed I reply in a single word to the sentiments of the saints on these questions about nature; in theology, to be sure, the force of authorities is to be weighed, in philosophy, however, that of causes. Therefore, a saint is Lactantius, who denied the rotundity of the earth; a saint is Augustine, who, admitting the rotundity, yet denied the antipodes; worthy of sainthood is the dutiful performance of moderns who, admitting the meagreness of the earth, yet deny its motion. But truth is more saintly for me, who demonstrate by philosophy, without violating my due respect for the doctors of the church, that the earth is both round and inhabited at the antipodes, and of the most despicable size, and finally is moved among the stars. Vol. III, p. 156

„I contemplate its beauty with incredible and ravishing delight“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: I certainly know that I owe it [the Copernican theory] this duty, that as I have attested it as true in my deepest soul, and as I contemplate its beauty with incredible and ravishing delight, I should also publicly defend it to my readers with all the force at my command. Vol. VI, p. 116, Vol. VIII, p. 266ff.

„I am indeed casting the die and writing the book, either for my contemporaries or for posterity to read, it matters not which: let the book await its reader for a hundred years; God himself has waited six thousand years for his work to be seen.“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: Now because 18 months ago the first dawn, 3 months ago broad daylight but a very few days ago the full sun of the most highly remarkable spectacle has risen — nothing holds me back. I can give myself up to the sacred frenzy, I can have the insolence to make a full confession to mortal men that I have stolen the golden vessel of the Egyptians to make from them a tabernacle for my God far from the confines of the land of Egypt. If you forgive me I shall rejoice; if you are angry, I shall bear it; I am indeed casting the die and writing the book, either for my contemporaries or for posterity to read, it matters not which: let the book await its reader for a hundred years; God himself has waited six thousand years for his work to be seen. Book V, Introduction Variant translation: It may well wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer. As quoted in The Martyrs of Science; or, the Lives of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler (1841) by David Brewster, p. 197. This has sometimes been misquoted as "It may be well to wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer." Variant translation: I feel carried away and possessed by an unutterable rapture over the divine spectacle of heavenly harmony... I write a book for the present time, or for posterity. It is all the same to me. It may wait a hundred years for its readers, as God has also waited six thousand years for an onlooker. As quoted in Calculus. Multivariable (2006) by Steven G. Krantz and Brian E. Blank. p. 126 Variant translation: I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice.; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its reader for a hundred years, if God himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study him. Unsourced translation

„Now because 18 months ago the first dawn, 3 months ago broad daylight but a very few days ago the full sun of the most highly remarkable spectacle has risen — nothing holds me back.“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: Now because 18 months ago the first dawn, 3 months ago broad daylight but a very few days ago the full sun of the most highly remarkable spectacle has risen — nothing holds me back. I can give myself up to the sacred frenzy, I can have the insolence to make a full confession to mortal men that I have stolen the golden vessel of the Egyptians to make from them a tabernacle for my God far from the confines of the land of Egypt. If you forgive me I shall rejoice; if you are angry, I shall bear it; I am indeed casting the die and writing the book, either for my contemporaries or for posterity to read, it matters not which: let the book await its reader for a hundred years; God himself has waited six thousand years for his work to be seen. Book V, Introduction Variant translation: It may well wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer. As quoted in The Martyrs of Science; or, the Lives of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler (1841) by David Brewster, p. 197. This has sometimes been misquoted as "It may be well to wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer." Variant translation: I feel carried away and possessed by an unutterable rapture over the divine spectacle of heavenly harmony... I write a book for the present time, or for posterity. It is all the same to me. It may wait a hundred years for its readers, as God has also waited six thousand years for an onlooker. As quoted in Calculus. Multivariable (2006) by Steven G. Krantz and Brian E. Blank. p. 126 Variant translation: I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice.; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its reader for a hundred years, if God himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study him. Unsourced translation

„I was almost driven to madness in considering and calculating this matter. I could not find out why the planet would rather go on an elliptical orbit. Oh, ridiculous me!“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: I was almost driven to madness in considering and calculating this matter. I could not find out why the planet would rather go on an elliptical orbit. Oh, ridiculous me! As the liberation in the diameter could not also be the way to the ellipse. So this notion brought me up short, that the ellipse exists because of the liberation. With reasoning derived from physical principles, agreeing with experience, there is no figure left for the orbit of the planet but a perfect ellipse. Ch.58, as quoted in John Freely, Before Galileo: The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe (2012)

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„Nothing which consists of corporeal matter is absolutely light, but that is comparatively lighter which is rarer“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: Nothing which consists of corporeal matter is absolutely light, but that is comparatively lighter which is rarer, either by its own nature, or by accidental heat. And it is not to be thought that light bodies are escaping to the surface of the universe while they are carried upwards, or that they are not attracted by the earth. They are attracted, but in a less degree, and so are driven outwards by the heavy bodies; which being done, they stop, and are kept by the earth in their own place. As quoted by Bryant, ibid.

„Just as the eye was made to see colours, and the ear to hear sounds, so the human mind was made to understand“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: Just as the eye was made to see colours, and the ear to hear sounds, so the human mind was made to understand, not whatever you please, but quantity. I. 31 as quoted by Edwin Arthur Burtt in The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science

„Given ships or sails adapted to the breezes of heaven, there will be those who will not shrink from even that vast expanse.“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: It is not improbable, I must point out, that there are inhabitants not only on the moon but on Jupiter too, or (as was delightfully remarked at a recent gathering of certain philosophers) that those areas are now being unveiled for the first time. But as soon as somebody demonstrates the art of flying, settlers from our species of man will not be lacking. Who would once have thought that the crossing of the wide ocean was calmer and safer than of the narrow Adriatic Sea, Baltic Sea, or English Channel? Given ships or sails adapted to the breezes of heaven, there will be those who will not shrink from even that vast expanse. Therefore, for the sake of those who, as it were, will presently be on hand to attempt this voyage, let us establish the astronomy, Galileo, you of Jupiter, and me of the moon. Translated by Edward Rosen, Kepler's Conversation with Galileo's Sidereal Messenger (1965), p. 39 Unsourced variant translation: Provide ships or sails fit for the winds of heaven, and some will brave even that great void.

„If you want the exact moment in time, it was conceived mentally on 8th March in this year one thousand six hundred and eighteen, but submitted to calculation in an unlucky way, and therefore rejected as false, and finally returning on the 15th of May and adopting a new line of attack, stormed the darkness of my mind.“

— Johannes Kepler
Context: If you want the exact moment in time, it was conceived mentally on 8th March in this year one thousand six hundred and eighteen, but submitted to calculation in an unlucky way, and therefore rejected as false, and finally returning on the 15th of May and adopting a new line of attack, stormed the darkness of my mind. So strong was the support from the combination of my labour of seventeen years on the observations of Brahe and the present study, which conspired together, that at first I believed I was dreaming, and assuming my conclusion among my basic premises. But it is absolutely certain and exact that "the proportion between the periodic times of any two planets is precisely the sesquialterate proportion of their mean distances..." Book V, Ch. 3 dates that his Third Law of Planetary Motion occurred to him, translation by E. J. Aiton, A. M. Duncan, and J. V. Field, The Harmony of the World (1997), Vol. 209, p. 411 Variant translation: A fresh assault overcame the darkness of my reason... As quoted in Calculus. Multivariable (2006) by Steven G. Krantz and Brian E. Blank. p. 126

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„Truth is the daughter of time, and I feel no shame in being her midwife.“

— Johannes Kepler
As quoted in The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A search for Salvation (2007) by Shafique N. Virani, p. 28

„Geometry has two great treasures: one is the Theorem of Phythagoras, the other the division of a line in extreme and mean ratio. The first we can compare to a mass of gold; the other we may call a precious jewel.<!--p.223, 1903 ed.“

— Johannes Kepler
As quoted by Karl Fink<!--(1851–1898)-->, Geschichte der Elementar-Mathematik (1890) translated as [https://books.google.com/books?id=3hkPAAAAIAAJ A Brief History of Mathematics] (1900, 1903) by Wooster Woodruff Beman, David Eugene Smith. Also see Carl Benjamin Boyer, A History of Mathematics (1968).

„I used to measure the heavens, now I measure the shadows of Earth.
Although my mind was heaven-bound, the shadow of my body lies here.“

— Johannes Kepler
Epitaph he composed for himself a few months before he died, as quoted in Calculusː Multivariable (2006) by Steven G. Krantz and Brian E. Blank. p. 126 Unsourced variant: I used to measure the Heavens, now I measure the shadows of Earth. The mind belonged to Heaven, the body's shadow lies here.

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