Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630

Biographical note

German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, and key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution. He is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican Astronomy. They also provided one of the foundations for Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation.

Kepler lived in an era when there was no clear distinction between astronomy and astrology, but there was a strong division between astronomy (a branch of mathematics within the liberal arts) and physics (a branch of natural philosophy). Kepler also incorporated religious arguments and reasoning into his work, motivated by the religious conviction that God had created the world according to an intelligible plan that is accessible through the natural light of reason. Kepler described his new astronomy as "celestial physics", as "an excursion into Aristotle's Metaphysics", and as "a supplement to Aristotle's On the Heavens", transforming the ancient tradition of physical cosmology by treating astronomy as part of a universal mathematical physics.


  • Mysterium cosmographicum (The Sacred Mystery of the Cosmos) [1596]
  • Astronomiae Pars Optica (The Optical Part of Astronomy) [1604]
  • De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii (On the New Star in Ophiuchus's Foot) [1604]
  • Astronomia nova (New Astronomy) [1609]
  • Tertius Interveniens (Third-party Interventions) [1610]
  • Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo (Conversation with the Starry Messenger) [1610]
  • Dioptrice [1611]
  • De nive sexangula (On the Six-Cornered Snowflake) [1611]
  • De vero Anno, quo aeternus Dei Filius humanam naturam in Utero benedictae Virginis Mariae assumpsit [1613]
  • Eclogae Chronicae (1615, published with Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo)
  • Nova stereometria doliorum vinariorum (New Stereometry of Wine Barrels) [1615]
  • Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae (Epitome of Copernican Astronomy) (published in three parts from 1618–1621)
  • Harmonice Mundi (Harmony of the Worlds) [1619]
  • Mysterium cosmographicum (The Sacred Mystery of the Cosmos) 2nd Edition [1621]
  • Tabulae Rudolphinae (Rudolphine Tables) [1627]
  • Somnium (The Dream) [1634]
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