We recently visited the house of Johannes Kepler in the Austrian city of Linz. He had lived here from 1612 -1627 and produced a monumental piece of work called “The Rudolphine Tables” 📖.

Now why is Johannes Kepler, the German astronomer, physicist and astrologer (!) of the 17th century, considered by most scholars to be the first modern scientist in history? ☀🌗🌍🌠

Kepler lived at a time when the 30 Years’ War was ravaging Europe, witch hunting was in full swing, when off-the-shelf telescopes were not yet available (unless of course you decided to visit Galileo Galilei 🔭 in Padova), and when #astronomy and #astrology had not yet separated.

This was the backdrop when an encounter between two giants took place: Johannes Kepler (the greatest mathematical astronomer of his time) and Tycho Brahe’s (the greatest observational astronomer of his time). After Brahe’s sudden death, Kepler was given access to the data Tycho had collected after years and years of meticulous #observation of the celestial bodies . Especially his #data of the movements of Mars was of unprecedented #accuracy. 🎯

After years of brooding over Tycho Brahe’s numbers, Johannes Kepler discovered that the planetary #orbits were elliptical and not circular ❗. It also became clear that the #planets were orbiting around the Sun (and not the Earth) according to some physical principles (law of gravitation 🌳🍏 was not yet discovered). It was a momentous discovery – after 2300 years of Aristotelian dogma and erroneous belief that the planets, fixed to spherical shells, moved in perfect circles around the Earth.

Curiously, Kepler was gravely disappointed by what he had found! He also considered circles to be perfect and beautiful. His own life-long idea of the harmonies of spheres was also threatened by his own discovery 😕. But the data spoke a different truth 👌. Observations won over belief. Kepler, the #scientist, let the truth (or what the data told him) win over his personal preferences. 🌟

The reason why Kepler is considered to be the first modern scientist is because he applied the principle of “inductive reasoning” – a generalization derived from a large body of precise observational data. The generalization in Kepler’s case were his three astrophysical laws known as “Kepler’s Laws”.

Standing in front of Johannes Kepler’s house in Linz, we felt strangely captivated by this great soul – one of the first to lay the foundations of modern science… 🙏🙏🙏

Author: asban
#johanneskepler #keplerslaws #rudolfinetables #solarsystem #inductivereasoning #planetaryorbits #soliddata #physics #astronomy #science #STEM #MINT #Linz