Kepler eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 62 pages of information about Kepler.
He was sent to school in 1577, but in the following year his father returned to Germany, almost ruined by the absconding of an acquaintance for whom he had become surety.  Henry Kepler was obliged to sell his house and most of his belongings, and to keep a tavern at Elmendingen, withdrawing his son from school to help him with the rough work.  In 1583 young Kepler was sent to the school at Elmendingen, and in 1584 had another narrow escape from death by a violent illness.  In 1586 he was sent, at the charges of the Duke, to the monastic school of Maulbronn; from whence, in accordance with the school regulations, he passed at the end of his first year the examination for the bachelor’s degree at Tuebingen, returning for two more years as a “veteran” to Maulbronn before being admitted as a resident student at Tuebingen.  The three years thus spent at Maulbronn were marked by recurrences of several of the diseases from which he had suffered in childhood, and also by family troubles at his home.  His father went away after a quarrel with his wife Catherine, and died abroad.  Catherine herself, who seems to have been of a very unamiable disposition, next quarrelled with her own relatives.  It is not surprising therefore that Kepler after taking his M.A. degree in August, 1591, coming out second in the examination lists, was ready to accept the first appointment offered him, even if it should involve leaving home.  This happened to be the lectureship in astronomy at Gratz, the chief town in Styria.  Kepler’s knowledge of astronomy was limited to the compulsory school course, nor had he as yet any particular leaning towards the science; the post, moreover, was a meagre and unimportant one.  On the other hand he had frequently expressed disgust at the way in which one after another of his companions had refused “foreign” appointments which had been arranged for them under the Duke’s scheme of education.  His tutors also strongly urged him to accept the lectureship, and he had not the usual reluctance to leave home.  He therefore proceeded to Gratz, protesting that he did not thereby forfeit his claim to a more promising opening, when such should appear.  His astronomical tutor, Maestlin, encouraged him to devote himself to his newly adopted science, and the first result of this advice appeared before very long in Kepler’s “Mysterium Cosmographicum”.  The bent of his mind was towards philosophical speculation, to which he had been attracted in his youthful studies of Scaliger’s “Exoteric Exercises”.  He says he devoted much time “to the examination of the nature of heaven, of souls, of genii, of the elements, of the essence of fire, of the cause of fountains, the ebb and flow of the tides, the shape of the continents and inland seas, and things of this sort”.  Following his tutor in his admiration for the Copernican theory, he wrote an essay on the primary motion, attributing it to the rotation of the earth, and this not for the mathematical reasons brought forward by Copernicus,
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Kepler from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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