Johannes Kepler’s Harmony of the World

  • Article (blog post)
  • 1500 words
  • Level: all audiences

A post by Christopher Graney on The Catholic Astronomer blog, focusing on how the work of Johannes Kepler contains important scientific content, extravagant expressions of religious devotion, and speculative writings regarding life on other planets.  Graney writes:

Readers will also find Kepler closing chapters with sentences such as this:

Holy Father, keep us safe in the concord of our love for one another, that we may be one, just as Thou art one with Thy Son, Our Lord, and with the Holy Ghost, and just as through the sweetest bonds of harmonies Thou hast made all Thy works one; and that from the bringing of Thy people into concord the body of Thy Church may be rebuilt up in the Earth, as Thou didst erect the heavens themselves out of harmonies.

It is difficult to overstate the religious content of Harmony.  Yet this is a book that contains important scientific content as well.  Generally, Kepler is proclaiming in Harmony the mathematical nature of the universe.  Specifically, he states what are today referred to as his Three Laws of Planetary Motion, mathematical descriptions of the orbital motion of a planet that are a staple of introductory astronomy classes everywhere.

Click here to read the full article on The Catholic Astronomer – the blog of the Vatican Observatory Foundation.