The Works of Galileo

Foundations of Mathematical Physics

Astronomy: Kepler, 1596

The third most important work in 16th century astronomy was by Johann Kepler, whose astonishing works and discoveries must be surveyed elsewhere. This is the Mysterium Cosmographicum, or Sacred Mystery of the Structure of the Cosmos (Figure 1) , published exactly 100 years after Regiomontanus’ Epitome. In this book Kepler proved Copernicanism using the 5 regular Pythagorean solids (Figure 2) . Kepler mailed copies to various scholars, including Galileo. Galileo didn’t bother to read what seemed like the work of a Lutheran mystic, but wrote back to Kepler that he had already been a Copernican for several years.

Exhibit revised 11/16/04.

Figure 1 Figure 1 - Return to Text

Kepler, 1596. Title page.

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Figure 2 Figure 2 - Return to Text

Kepler, 1596. Plate 2.

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Exhibit credit: Kerry Magruder, with the assistance of , Marilyn B. Ogilvie, Duane H. D. Roller.

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