1571: Astronomer Johannes Kepler – Author of Probably the First SF Novel in History

1571: Astronomer Johannes Kepler – Author of Probably the First SF Novel in History
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Johannes_Kepler_1610.jpg

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 27 December 1571
  • Interestingly, Kepler at one time worked in Graz, Styria, as a teacher of mathematics. Predictions based on astrological calculations were asked from Kepler even by the highest government officials – particularly Rudolf II of Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor, who lived in Prague.

On this day in 1571, the renowned scientist Johannes Kepler was born. He was a contemporary of Galileo Galilei and William Shakespeare. He lived at the time which was particularly marked by conflicts of Protestants and Catholics in Europe. Kepler was a mathematician and astronomer, and in his time astronomy and astrology were not yet strictly separated. Predictions based on astrological calculations were asked from Kepler even by the highest government officials – particularly Rudolf II of Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor, who lived in Prague.

Johannes Kepler is today most famous for the so-called Kepler’s Laws. These are the laws of planetary motion around the Sun. Kepler’s first law states that the orbit of a planet is not a circle but an ellipse, with the Sun at one of the two focal points of the ellipse. Kepler was born in the town of Weil der Stadt west of Stuttgart, near the Black Forest. Interestingly, Kepler at one time worked in Graz, Styria, as a teacher of mathematics. In the field of astronomy, Kepler was one time a junior associate of the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

What is particularly interesting about Kepler is the fact that he wrote one of the first science fiction novels in history. This work was written in Latin, and it was called “Somnium”, which in Latin means “The Dream”. Kepler died in Regensburg in Bavaria in 1630, when he was 58 years old. Interestingly, the whereabouts of his grave are unknown, as the place of his burial was ravaged during the bloody Thirty Years’ War.

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