Kepler eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 62 pages of information about Kepler.
uniform kindness in the face of great rudeness and ingratitude.  He begged him to come “as a welcome friend,” though Kepler, very touchy on the subject of his own astronomical powers, was afraid he might be regarded as simply a subordinate assistant.  An arrangement had been suggested by which Kepler should obtain two years’ leave of absence from Gratz on full pay, which, because of the higher cost of living in Prague, should be supplemented by the Emperor; but before this could be concluded, Kepler threw up his professorship, and thinking he had thereby also lost the chance of going to Prague, applied to Maestlin and others of his Tuebingen friends to make interest for him with the Duke of Wurtemberg and secure the professorship of medicine.  Tycho, however, still urged him to come to Prague, promising to do his utmost to secure for him a permanent appointment, or in any event to see that he was not the loser by coming.  Kepler was delayed by illness on the way, but ultimately reached Prague, accompanied by his wife, and for some time lived entirely at Tycho’s expense, writing by way of return essays against Reymers and another man, who had claimed the credit of the Tychonic system.  This Kepler could do with a clear conscience, as it was only a question of priority and did not involve any support of the system, which he deemed far inferior to that of Copernicus.  The following year saw friction between the two astronomers, and we learn from Kepler’s abject letter of apology that he was entirely in the wrong.  It was about money matters, which in one way or another embittered the rest of Kepler’s life, and it arose during his absence from Prague.  On his return in September, 1601, Tycho presented him to the Emperor, who gave him the title of Imperial Mathematician, on condition of assisting Tycho in his calculations, the very thing Kepler was most anxious to be allowed to do:  for nowhere else in the world was there such a collection of good observations sufficient for his purpose of reforming the whole theory of astronomy.  The Emperor’s interest was still mainly with astrology, but he liked to think that his name would be handed down to posterity in connection with the new Planetary Tables in the same way as that of Alphonso of Castile, and he made liberal promises to pay the expenses.  Tycho’s other principal assistant, Longomontanus, did not stay long after giving up the Mars observations to Kepler, but instead of working at the new lunar theory, suddenly left to take up a professorship of astronomy in his native Denmark.  Very shortly afterwards Tycho himself died of acute distemper; Kepler began to prepare the mass of manuscripts for publication, but, as everything was claimed by the Brahe family, he was not allowed to finish the work.  He succeeded to Tycho’s post of principal mathematician to the Emperor, at a reduced official salary, which owing to the emptiness of the Imperial treasury was almost always in arrear.  In order to meet his expenses he had recourse to the casting of nativities, for which he gained considerable reputation and received very good pay.  He worked by the conventional rules of astrology, and was quite prepared to take fees for so doing, although he had very little faith in them, preferring his own fanciful ideas.

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Kepler from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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