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Johannes Kepler
KEPLER, Johannes.

KEPLER, Johannes.
(1571 - 1630)

(Born: Weil der Stadt, Württemberg, Germany, 27 December 1571; Died: Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany, 15 November 1630) German astronomer.

One of the great geniuses of humanity, Kepler studied theology and classics at the University of Tübingen. There he became interested in mathematics and astronomy and became an adherent of the heliocentric theory of planetary motion first developed by the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. Kepler accepted Copernican theory immediately, believing that the simplicity of Copernican planetary ordering must have been God's plan. In 1594, when Kepler left for Graz, Austria, he worked out a complex geometric hypothesis to account for distances between the planetary orbits-orbits that he mistakenly assumed were circular. Kepler later deduced that planetary orbits are elliptic; nevertheless, these preliminary calculations agreed with observations to within 5 percent. Kepler then proposed that the sun emits a force that diminishes inversely with distance and pushes the planets around in their orbits. Kepler published his account in a treatise entitled Mysterium Cosmographicum (Cosmographic Mystery) in 1596. This work is significant because it presented the first comprehensive and cogent account of the geometrical advantages of Copernican theory.

Kepler held the chair of astronomy and mathematics at the University of Graz from 1594 until 1600, when he became assistant to the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe in the latter's observatory near Prague. On the death of Brahe in 1601, Kepler assumed his position as imperial mathematician and court astronomer. In 1612 Kepler became mathematician to the states of Upper Austria. Relocated to Linz, Austria, he began publishing a book that took three years to appear. The Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae (Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, 1618-21), which brought all of Kepler's discoveries together in a single volume. Equally important, it became the first textbook of astronomy to be based on Copernican principles, and for the next three decades it was a major influence in converting many astronomers to Keplerian Copernicanism. Kepler also made contributions in the field of optics and developed a system of infinitesimals in mathematics, which was a forerunner of calculus.

Biographical references: ADB. DBA: I 640, 5-33; II 696, 1-147; II G 12, 12-14. Gerber, Historisch-biographisches Lexikon, 1812-4. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51. NDB. Poggendorff: 1, cols. 1243-5. WBI.

Comprehensive Bibliography

1. German, 1968.
Bibliographia | Kepleriana | Ein Führer | Durch Das Gedruckte Schrifttum Von | Johannes Kepler | Im Auftrag Der | Bayerischen Akademie Der Wissenschaften | Unter Mitarbeit | Von Ludwig Rothenfelder | Herausgegeben Von | Max Casper | Zweite Auflage | Besorgt Von Martha List | C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung | München MCMLXVIII.

4°: [i]-xiv, [2], [1]-181, [3] p., 86 title page facsimiles on 43l.

Very scarce. A highly regarded, well illustrated, comprehensive bibliography of the works by and about Kepler. The first part, listing 86 entries, describes in detail, Kepler's original writings. The second, nos. 87-185, provides a annotated list of the later editions, translations and compiliations of the original works. The third section listing 574 numbers, is a bibliography of articles and books about Kepler. A name index is included as are reproductions of the title pages to the 86 entries given in the first section.

Sterna Seu De Niue Sexangula

Sterna Seu De Niue Sexangula, 1611

2. Latin, 1611 [First edition].
Ioanniske- | pleris. C. Maiest. | Mathematici | Sterna | Seu | De Niue Sexangula. | [ornament] | Cum Priuilegio S. Cæs. Maiest. adannos xv. | Francofvrti ad Moenvm, | apud Godefridum Tampach. | [rule] | Anno M. DC. XI.

4°: A-C4; 12l.; [1]-24 p., 3 woodcut illustrations and a woodcut device on the title page.

Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso blank.; [3]-24, Text.

Very rare. Kepler's Sterna Seu de Niue Sexangula is the first scientific treatise concerning crystallography. This small tract, written in the form of a letter, was presented as a new year's gift to Matthaus Wackher von Wackenfels. In it Kepler ponders the problem of why snowflakes are always sixsided. But every explanation the author formulates, he also rejects and eventually Kepler concludes that the true explanation remains for future investigators to resolve. The crystallographic importance of this work arises from the author's discussions of space filling and symmetry. Published here for the first time are Kepler's discussions of how ordered symmetrical shapes arise from the packing together of similar bodies, even though the bodies are not symmetric themselves. Included in these observations are accounts of cubic and hexagonal closest packing, an important concept of modern crystallographic studies.

German transl., 1943: Johannes Kepler, Strena. Neujahrsgabe oder vom sechseckigen Schnee. Unter Mitwirkung von M. Caspar und F. Neuhart. Übertragen von Fritz Rossmann. Berlin, W. Keiper, 1943. 8°: [1]-64 p., 12 illus., facsimile of 1611 title page.

English transl., 1966: The | Six-Cornered | Snowflake | [ornament] | Johannes Kepler | Oxford | At The Clarendon Press | 1966. 8°: [i]-xvi, [1]-74, [2] p., photos and text illustrations.

[i-ii], Half title page, "The Six-Cornered | Snowflake," verso blank.; [iii-iv], Title page, verso "Oxford University Press, ..."; [v]-vii, "Forword."; [viii], "Acknowledgesments."; [ix], "Contents."; [x], Blank.; [xi]-xiv, "Synopsis."; [xv], "Note On Text."; [xvi], Facsimile reproduction of the 1611 title page.; [1]-45, Text of translation with the Latin on the left and the English on the right hand facing page.; [46], Blank.; [47]-56, "On The Shapes Of Snow Crystals | A commentary on | Kepler's essay `On the Six-Cornered Snowflake' | B.J. Mason."; [57]-63, "Kepler's Unsolved Problem And | The Facultas Formatrix | Lancelot Law Whyte."; [64], Blank.; [65]-74, "Notes."; [1 pg], "Bibliography."; [1 pg], "Printed in Great Britain | ..."

Annotated translation of the 1611 edition, with a long introduction giving details of the history of this work. The added essays Brian J. Mason and Lancelot Law Whyte describe the place Kepler's work holds in the development of crystallography.

Bibliographical references: Burke, Origins of the Science of Crystals, 1966: 35 & 184. Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968: no. 39. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 301. Honeyman Sale: 5: 1786. Kobell, Geschichte der Mineralogie, 1864: 7-8. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 2, 3. Smith, C.S. & J.G. Burke, ????: 36-43. VD17: 23:286862M.

3. Latin, 1619.
Amphitheatrum | Sapientiæ Socraticæ Joco-seriæ, | Hoc Est, | Encomia Et | Commentaria | Avtorum, Qva Vetervm, | Qva Recentiorvm Prope Omni- | vm: Qvibvs Res, Avt Pro Vilibvs Vvlgo | aut damñosis habitæ styli patrocinio vindicantur, | exornantur: Opvs Ad Mysteria Natvræ Discenda, | adomnem amœnitatem, sapientiam, virtutem, publice pri- | uatimque vtilißimum: in | Dvos Tomos | Partim Ex Libris Editis, Partim Manv- | scriptis congstum triburumque, | à | Caspare Dornavio Philos. Et Medico. | [...2 lines of quotation...] | [ornament] | Cum gratia & priuilegio S. Casarta Maiestaris. | Hanoviæ, | Typis Wechelianis, Impensis Danielis ac Dauidis | Aubriorum, & Clementis Schleichii. | [rule] | M. DC. XIX.

2 vols. [Vol 1] 2°: [12], 854 (i.e., 848) p., one plate. [Vol 2] 2°: 305, [3] p.

Rare. Edited by Casper Dornavius [see note below], this is one of the largest and most fascinating collections of the early modern times. Its text contains almost 700 diverse works including comic treatises, poems in Latin and German in praise of the unpraiseworthy, observations on the most varied animals, plants, minerals, personages of antiquity and on conditions and virtues of injustice, folly, fever, gout & envy. The introduction contains a biobibliographical essay about the contained authors. Kepler's treatise on the snowflake is reprinted in this collected work, volume I, pp. 751-757.

Facsimile reprint, 1995: Amphitheatrum sapientiae socraticae joco-seriae. Schauplatz scherz- und ernsthafter Weisheiten. Neudruck der Ausgabe Hanau 1619. Herausgegeben und eingeleitet von Robert Seidel. Goldbach 1995. 2 vols bound in one. 854 p.; 305, 48 p. Published as part of the series, Texte der frühen Neuzeit, 9.

Caspar Dornau. (Born: Ziegenrück, Germany?, 11 October 1577; Died: Görlitz, Germany [now Goritz, Italy], 28 September 1632) German physician & philologist. Dornavius was rector at the Gymnasium in Görlitz and bound in friendship to Kepler. In his last years he was a royal advisor and physician in Görlitz.

Bibliographical references: Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968: no. 61. VD17: 3:310172H. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 1857. (Dornau) ADB: 5, 351-2. Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968: no. 61. DBA: I 249, 129-139. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51. WBI.

4. Latin, 1670 [2nd edition].
Amphitheatrum | Sapientiae Socraticæ | So- | coseriæ | Joco-Seriæ, | Hoc est, | Encomia Et Commentaria, | Autorum, qua veterum, qua recentiorum prope omni- | um: Quibus res, aut pro vilibus vulgo aut damnosis habitæ, styli | patrocinio vindicantur, exomantur: | Opus Ad Mysteria Naturæ Discenda, | adomnem amœnitatem, sapientiam, virtutem, publice pri- | vatimque utilissimum | In | Duos Tomos. | Partim ex libris editis, partim manuscriptit congestum tributumque, | à Caspare Dornavio, | Philosopho Et Medico. | [...2 lines of quotation...] | [ornament] | Francofvrti Ad Moenvm, | Apud Jacobum Godofredum Seyler. | [rule] | M. DC, LXX.

2 vols.

Rare. Reprint of the 1619 edition?

Bibliographical references: Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968.

5. German, 1907.
Des Kaiserlichen Mathematikers Johannes Kepler Neujahrsgeschenk oder Uber die Sechseckform des Schnees. 1611. Aus dem Lateinischen ubersetzt und mit Anmerkungen versehen von R. Klug. 56. Jahresbericht des K.K. Staats-Gymnasiums zuLinz. Linz, 1907.

8°: 1-30 p.

Scarce. Translation of the 1611 edition by R. Klug, which originally appeaded in the Jahrsbericht des k.k. Staats-Gymnasium zu Linz for the year 1907.

Bibliographical references: Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968: no. 148.

6. German, 1943.
Johannes Kepler, Strena. Neujahrsgabe oder vom sechseckigen Schnee. Unter Mitwirkung von M. Caspar und F. Neuhart. Übertragen von Fritz Rossmann. Berlin, W. Keiper, 1943.

8°: [1]-64 p., 12 illus., facsimile of 1611 title page.

Very scarce. German translation of the 1611 edition by Fritz Rossmann. Another German translation from the Latin by H. Strunz and H. Borm under the title, " Johannes Kepler, Uber den Hexagonalen Schnee" appeared in Acta Albertina Ratisbonensia (Regensberg), 22 (1958), pp. 5-35.

Bibliographical references: Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968: no. 169.

7. English & Latin, 1966 [English & Latin transl.].
The | Six-Cornered | Snowflake | [ornament] | Johannes Kepler | Oxford | At The Clarendon Press | 1966.

8°: [i]-xvi, [1]-74, [2] p., photos and text illustrations. Page size: 234 x 152 mm.

Contents: [i-ii], Half title page, "The Six-Cornered | Snowflake," verso blank.; [iii-iv], Title page, verso "Oxford University Press, ..."; [v]-vii, "Forword."; [viii], "Acknowledgesments."; [ix], "Contents."; [x], Blank.; [xi]-xiv, "Synopsis."; [xv], "Note On Text."; [xvi], Facsimile reproduction of the 1611 title page.; [1]-45, Text of translation with the Latin on the left and the English on the right hand facing page.; [46], Blank.; [47]-56, "On The Shapes Of Snow Crystals | A commentary on | Kepler's essay `On the Six-Cornered Snowflake' | B.J. Mason."; [57]-63, "Kepler's Unsolved Problem And | The Facultas Formatrix | Lancelot Law Whyte."; [64], Blank.; [65]-74, "Notes."; [1 pg], "Bibliography."; [1 pg], "Printed in Great Britain | ..."

Very scarce. Annotated translation of the 1611 edition, with a long introduction giving details of the history of this work. The added essays Brian J. Mason and Lancelot Law Whyte describe the place Kepler's work holds in the development of crystallography.

Bibliographical references: Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968: no. 184.

8. Latin, 1858-71.
Joannis Kepleri | Astronomi | Opera Omnia | Edidit | Dr.Christian Firsch. | [rule] Volumem I. | [ornate rule] | Francofurti a.m. Et Erlangae. | Heyder & Zimmer. | MDCCCLVIII.

8 vols. Large 8°, with portrait of Kepler, one folding facsimile letter, a double-page plate of the signs of the zodiac, an engraved plate after the frontispiece to the Tabulae Rudolphinae, 2 lithographic plates with diagrams, and two folding tables.

Very scarce. The first and standard edition of Kepler's collected works, compiled by Christian Frisch [see note below]. It required over 30 years for Frisch to gather the materials for these volumes, with the last one being published to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Kepler's birth. Only 800 sets including the 50 on fine paper were printed, making this item difficult to obtain. The Sterna Seu De Niue Sexangula appears in volume VII, p. 715-30.

Modern collected works, 1941-1956: Johannes Kepler | Gesammelte Werke | Band IV | Kleinere Schriften | 1602 / 1611 | Dioptrice | Herausgegeben Von | Max Casper Und Franz Hammer | C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung | München MCMXXXXI.

A modern reissue of Kepler's collected works.

Christian Frisch. (Born: 1807; Died: 1881) .

Bibliographical references: Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968: no. 129. NUC. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976. (Frisch)

9. Latin, 1941.
Johannes Kepler | Gesammelte Werke | Band IV | Kleinere Schriften | 1602 / 1611 | Dioptrice | Herausgegeben Von | Max Casper Und Franz Hammer | C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung | München MCMXXXXI.

4°:

Very scarce. A modern collected works edition of Kepler, edited by Max Casper and Franz Hammer and published under the auspices of the Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. The Sterna Seu De Niue Sexangula appears in volume IV, p. 259-80, with the 1611 title page reproduced in facsimile.

Bibliographical references: Caspar, Bibliographia Kepleriana, 1968: no. 165.

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