Cover image for Johannes Kepler : discovering the laws of celestial motion
Johannes Kepler : discovering the laws of celestial motion
Boerst, William J.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Greensboro, N.C. : Morgan Reynolds Pub., [2003]

Physical Description:
144 pages : illustrations (some color), color maps ; 24 cm.
A biography of Johannes Kepler, the seventeenth-century German astronomer and mathematician who formulated the three laws of planetary motion.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 9.0 5.0 129641.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB36.K4 B636 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As a student in Germany in the sixteenth century, Johannes Kepler became convinced the Sun was at the center of the planets and the universe operated on the same mathematical principles that govern musical harmony. He devoted his life to understanding this system of celestial harmony. In the process, he discovered the first three laws of planetary motion and founded the science of physical astronomy. Book jacket.

Author Notes

William J. Boerst is the author of several books, including a biography of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-9. Similar in format and approach to Boerst's Tycho Brahe: Mapping the Heavens (2003), also from the Renaissance Scientists series, this biography looks at the life, times, and accomplishments of German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Kepler, using Copernicus' heliocentric model and Brahe's data, made an enormous number of mathematical calculations and took some imaginative leaps to come up with his laws of planetary motion. Boerst not only offers a good portrait of the astronomer and his work but also shows the effects of the contentious political and religious forces that created upheaval in his society and made scholarship anything but a safe haven. The well-designed pages feature excellent color illustrations, such as maps, diagrams, and many period paintings and prints. Back matter includes a time line, source notes for quotations, a bibliography, and a list of recommended Web sites. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-This 17th-century German mathematician and astronomer discovered three laws of planetary motion and was a key to further discoveries of natural law. Kepler, a Protestant, was persecuted during the counter-Reformation, lost a wife and several children to disease, saw his mother tried as a witch, and had constant financial difficulties, yet persevered in his quest for mathematical truths. In this detailed biography, both his academic work and his personal travails are carefully documented. Period portraits and images reproduced in full color and black and white as well as diagrams and maps enhance the presentation and help to hold readers' interest. Those not fully versed in the fundamentals of physics and mathematics will still be able to grasp the material presented. Boerst's theory that Kepler was looking for harmony in the universe as an antidote to the religious disharmony of his time is apocryphal but interesting. With a time line and bibliography consisting of both primary and secondary sources, this is a worthwhile source for information on both the life and works of this Renaissance genius.-Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Retreat into Studiesp. 11
Chapter 2 Cosmological Mysteryp. 31
Chapter 3 Matchmaking in Love and Politicsp. 45
Chapter 4 Tycho's Shadowp. 56
Chapter 5 The New Astronomyp. 65
Chapter 6 Fame at the Mercy of Fatep. 76
Chapter 7 Chaosp. 88
Chapter 8 Harmonies and Dissonancesp. 98
Chapter 9 Witches and Warp. 108
Chapter 10 Skyboundp. 122
Timelinep. 136
Sourcesp. 137
Bibliographyp. 140
Websitesp. 141
Indexp. 142