[ link to the Department of the History of Science ] [ link to Golden Jubilee Symposium Program ] [ upcoming link to Golden Jubilee Concert ]
About the collections Theme of the exhibit Macrocosm Microcosm

The Macrocosm:

It was Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) who made the revolutionary decision that heavenly bodies might move in some other shape than a circle. This decision did not occur until after he had the Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe's (1546-1601) accurate observational data available. When he wrote his first book, the Mysterium Cosmographicum, he was a dedicated Copernican but had not yet arrived as his elliptical hypothesis.

[ click for a larger image ]

Kepler, Johann.
Prodromus dissertationvm cosmographicarvm, continens Mysterivm cosmographicvm, de admirabili proportione orbivm coelestivm, de qve cavsis coelorum numeri, magnitudinis, motuumque periodicorum genuinis & proprijs, demonstsratvm, per qvinqve regularia corpora geometrica.

Tvbingae, excudebat Georgium Gruppenbachius, anno MDXCVI.


In many ways Johannes Kepler, known to us for his three laws of planetary motion, was a mystic. Thinking about how God would have made the universe, Kepler devised a scheme whereby he deduced the structure of the universe without the inconvenience of observation. As he pondered the arrangement of the planets, he decided that God determined their spacing around the sun using the five regular geometric solids. Kepler, a convinced Copernican, knew that there must be a correlation between the six planets known to Copernicus and the five regular solids. In his first book, the Mysterium cosmographicum, published long before he postulated that the planets moved in ellipses, he was convinced that he had discovered God's mathematical plans for the construction of the universe.



About the collections Theme of the exhibit Microcosm Macrocosm

Department of the History of Science
History of Science Collections