Johannes Kepler wrote Astronomia Nova (1609) in a singleminded drive to sweep away the ancient and medieval clutter of spheres and orbs and to establish a new truth in astronomy, based on physical causality. Thus a good part of the book is given over to a nontechnical discussion of how planets can be made to move through space by physical forces. This is the theme of the readings in the present module. The selection includes Kepler's Introduction as well as a selection of chapters that develop the physics of planetary motion. In these ground-breaking chapters, the true Kepler emerges, not as a speculative mystic or a number-crunching drudge, but as a first-rate scientific thinker with a wonderfully engaging narrative style.
This is one of the most important studies in decades on Johannes Kepler, among the towering figures in the history of astronomy. Drawing extensively on Kepler's correspondence and manuscripts, James Voelkel reveals that the strikingly unusual style of Kepler's magnum opus, Astronomia nova (1609), has been traditionally misinterpreted. Kepler laid forth the first two of his three laws of planetary motion in this work. Instead of a straightforward presentation of his results, however, he led readers on a wild goose chase, recounting the many errors and false starts he had experienced. This had long been deemed a ''confessional'' mirror of the daunting technical obstacles Kepler faced. As Voelkel amply demonstrates, it is not. Voelkel argues that Kepler's style can be understood only in the context of the circumstances in which the book was written. Starting with Kepler's earliest writings, he traces the development of the astronomer's ideas of how the planets were moved by a force from the sun and how this could be expressed mathematically. And he shows how Kepler's once broader research program was diverted to a detailed examination of the motion of Mars. Above all, Voelkel shows that Kepler was well aware of the harsh reception his work would receive--both from Tycho Brahe's heirs and from contemporary astronomers; and how this led him to an avowedly rhetorical pseudo-historical presentation of his results. In treating Kepler at last as a figure in time and not as independent of it, this work will be welcomed by historians of science, astronomers, and historians.
This installment in a series on science and technology in world history begins in the fourteenth century, explaining the origin and nature of scientific methodology and the relation of science to religion, philosophy, military history, economics and technology. Specific topics covered include the Black Death, the Little Ice Age, the invention of the printing press, Martin Luther and the Reformation, the birth of modern medicine, the Copernican Revolution, Galileo, Kepler, Isaac Newton, and the Scientific Revolution.
By combining excerpts from key historical writings with commentary by experts, Philosophy of Science: An Historical Anthology provides a comprehensive history of the philosophy of science from ancient to modern times. Provides a comprehensive history of the philosophy of science, from antiquity up to the 20th century Includes extensive commentary by scholars putting the selected writings in historical context and pointing out their interconnections Covers areas rarely seen in philosophy of science texts, including the philosophical dimensions of biology, chemistry, and geology Designed to be accessible to both undergraduates and graduate students
Definitive biography covers Kepler's scientific accomplishments — laws of planetary motion, work with calculus, optics, more — plus public and personal life, more. Introduction and Notes by Owen Gingerich.
Annotation. In six years, Galileo Galilei went from being a mathematics professor to a star in the court of Florence to a target of the Inquisition. And during that time, Galileo made a series of astronomical discoveries that reshaped the ideas of the physical nature of the heavens and transformed him from a university mathematician into a court philosopher. Galileo's Instruments of Creditproposes radical new interpretations of key episodes of Galileo's career, including his telescopic discoveries of 1610, the dispute over sunspots, and the conflict with the Holy Office over the relationship between Copernicanism and Scripture. Galileo's tactics shifted as rapidly as his circumstances, argues Mario Biagioli, and these changes forced him to respond swiftly to the opportunities and risks posed by unforeseen inventions, other discoveries, and his opponents. Focusing on the aspects of Galileo's scientific life that extended beyond court culture and patronage, Biagioli offers a revisionist account of the different systems of exchanges, communication, and credibility at work in Galileo's career. Galileo's Instruments of Creditwill fascinate readers interested in the history of astronomy and the history of science in general.
How did we make reliable predictions before Pascal and Fermat's discovery of the mathematics of probability in 1654? What methods in law, science, commerce, philosophy, and logic helped us to get at the truth in cases where certainty was not attainable? In The Science of Conjecture, James Franklin examines how judges, witch inquisitors, and juries evaluated evidence; how scientists weighed reasons for and against scientific theories; and how merchants counted shipwrecks to determine insurance rates. The Science of Conjecture provides a history of rational methods of dealing with uncertainty and explores the coming to consciousness of the human understanding of risk.
'Computational History' derives history from data and nowadays, therefore, relies on the technologies of the digital humanities. 'Computational History of Science' addresses questions of history by evaluating historical data, e.g. for tracing back copying traditions and conclude on transfer and transformation of data and knowledge. The term 'Applied Historical Astronomy', in contrast, tries to address questions of contemporary science by evaluating historical data in comparison with most recent data. This opens new possibilities, e.g. in the search for stellar transients among historical data. In the contribution by Hoffmann & Vogt we will focus on the stellar transients among all the topics mentioned above. Philipp Protte discusses the accuracy of magnitudes and positions in ancient star catalogues, Andreas Schrimpf & Frank Verbunt present an analysis of an early modern star catalogue. Victor Reijs analyses the visibility of celestial objects for naked-eye observers, and Björn Kunzmann showcases some important variable stars in the history of astronomy. Rene Hudec presents astronomical photographic archives as a valuable data source for modern astrophysics. José M. Vaquero discusses the studies on solar observations made during the last four centuries. More technical are the contributions of Georg Zotti on Stellarium and Karsten Markus-Schnabel on data-mining and data-processing technologies. Ido Yavetz & Luca Beisel are developing a digital tool of computational history of science for the simulation of pre-modern astronomical models. Gerd Graßhoff focuses more on the application of computational history with regard to Kepler's Astronomia Nova while Tim Karberg presents an analysis of the astronomical orientation of buildings in the North Sudan.