Johannes Kepler

And Kepler Has His Own Opera – Kepler’s 3rd Planetary Law

And Kepler Has His Own Opera – Kepler’s 3rd Planetary Law

On May 15, 1618, famous astronomer Johannes Kepler discovered the 3rd and also last of his planetary laws, and concluded the general revolution of our celestial world that started with Nicolaus Copernicus about 100 years earlier.[1] And that made him rather popular as he still is today. Did you know that there is a Kepler crater on the Moon, a Kepler crater on Mars, a Kepler asteroid, a Kepler supernova, of course there…
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The Discovery of the Four Galilean Moons

The Discovery of the Four Galilean Moons

On January 7, 1610, physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei turned his new telescope to the nocturnal sky to watch the planet Jupiter and discovered the eponymous four moons of Jupiter, Ganimede, Callisto, Io, and Europa although he is not able to distinguish the last two until the following day.[1,2] The Telescope Based only on uncertain descriptions of the first practical telescope which the Dutch lens maker Hans Lippershey [3] tried to patent in the Netherlands…
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to…
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Aryabhata and Early Indian Mathematics

Aryabhata and Early Indian Mathematics

In 476 CE, Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata was born. Aryabhata is the earliest Indian mathematician whose work and history are available to modern scholars. In his work “Ganita” Aryabhata names the first 10 decimal places and gives algorithms for obtaining square and cubic roots, using the decimal number system. He also came up with an approximation of pi and the area of a triangle. “Aryabhata is the master who, after reaching…
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Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

When I read the news that Stephen Hawking passed away, I was rather sad. I grew up with a fascination for astronomy and cosmology. Trying to understand the fabrics and working of the universe, I devoured his popular books and articles and I am rather thankful. Amongst others it was foremost this unique physicist, who planted the seed for my decision to become a scientist myself. However, I abandoned physics after high…
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Hipparchus of Nicaea and the Precession of the Equinoxes

Hipparchus of Nicaea and the Precession of the Equinoxes

Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician in the second century BC. He is considered the founder of trigonometry but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes. His other reputed achievements include the discovery and measurement of Earth‘s precession, the compilation of the first comprehensive star catalog of the western world, and possibly the invention of the astrolabe, also of the armillary sphere, which…
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Johannes Fabricius and the Observation of Sunspots

Probably on June 13, 1611, Frisian astronomer Johannes Fabricius published his Narratio de maculis in sole observatis et apparente earum cum sole conversione (Account of Spots Observed on the Sun and of Their Apparent Rotation with the Sun), which counts as the first published description of sunspots. Nevertheless, sunspots have been discovered earlier, as the first record of a sunspot drawing dates back into the 12th century to John of Worcester in 1128. Johannes…
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Pierre Bouguer – Child Prodigy and ‘Father of Photometry’

Pierre Bouguer – Child Prodigy and ‘Father of Photometry’

On February 16, 1698, French mathematician, geophysicist, geodesist, and astronomerPierre Bouguer was born. In 1735 Bouguer sailed with Charles Marie de La Condamine on a scientific mission to Peru, in order to measure a degree of the meridian arc near the equator. He is also known as “the father of naval architecture” and the “father of photometry“. Pierre Bouguer – Early Life Pierre Bouguer was born in Le Croisic at the French Atlantic…
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Cavalieri’s Principle

Cavalieri’s Principle

On November 30, 1648, Italian mathematician Bonaventura Cavalieri passed away. He is known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri’s principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus. “Rigor is the concern of philosophy not of geometry.” (Bonaventura Cavalieri) Bonaventura Cavalieri – The Youth of a Mathematician Born at Milan, Cavalieri was given the name Francesco…
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