27 April 2017

Kepler's Three Laws

From History.com, an article about Kepler:

On this day in 4977 BC, the universe was created, according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler (painting, above, right), considered a founder of modern science. Kepler is best known for his theories explaining the motion of planets.
Kepler was born on 27 December 1571, in Weil der Stadt, Germany. As a university student, he studied the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ theories of planetary ordering. Copernicus (1473-1543) believed that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system, a theory that contradicted the prevailing view of the era that the Sun revolved around the Earth.
In 1600, Kepler went to Prague to work for Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, the imperial mathematician to Rudolf II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Kepler’s main project was to investigate the orbit of Mars. When Brahe died the following year, Kepler took over his job and inherited Brahe’s extensive collection of astronomy data, which had been painstakingly observed by the naked eye. Over the next decade, Kepler learned about the work of Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who had invented a telescope with which he discovered lunar mountains and craters, the largest four satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Venus, among other things. Kepler corresponded with Galileo, eventually obtained a telescope of his own, and improved upon the design. In 1609, Kepler published the first two of his three laws of planetary motion, which held that planets move around the sun in ellipses, not circles (as was widely believed up until that time), and that planets sped up as they approached the sun and slowed down as they moved away. In 1619, he produced his third law, which used mathematic principles to relate the time a planet takes to orbit the sun to the average distance of the planet from the sun.
Kepler’s research was slow to gain widespread traction during his lifetime, but it later served as a key influence on the English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and his law of gravitational force. Additionally, Kepler did important work in the fields of optics, including demonstrating how the human eye works, and math. He died on 15 November 1630, in Regensberg, Germany. As for Kepler’s calculation about the universe’s birthday, scientists in the twentieth century developed the Big Bang theory, which showed that his calculations were off by about fourteen billion years.
Rico says the world was different after him... (But the television show is more fun, and has women in it.)

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