Johannes Kepler

    Character » Johannes Kepler appears in 10 issues.

    Mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and the author of one of the first works of science-fiction, Somnium (The Dream). A courageous, contradictory, brilliant man living in a time of squalor and strife.

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    Kepler was born on December 27, 1571 in Germany. He was sent to the Protestant seminary school in Maulbronn to be educated for the clergy. It was a strict, disciplined life, up before dawn to begin a long day of prayer and study. This was the age of the Reformation. Maulbronn was a kind of educational and ideological boot camp training young Protestants in theological weaponry against the fortress of Roman Catholicism.

    There was little reassurance or comfort here for a sensitive boy like Kepler. He was intelligent and he knew it. That, together with his stubbornness and his fierce independence served to isolate him from the other boys. Kepler made few friends in his two years at Maulbronn. So he kept to himself, withdrawn into the world of his own thoughts which were often concerned with his imagined unworthiness in the eyes of God. He despaired of ever attaining salvation. But God to him was more than punishment. God was also the creative power of the universe and the young Kepler's curiosity about God was even greater than his fear. He wanted to know God's plan for the world. He wanted to read the mind of God.

    This was his obsession. It was to inspire all his great achievements. It was to take him, and Europe out of the cloister of medieval thought. In places like Maulbronn, the faint echoes of the genius of antiquity still reverberated. Here, in addition to theology Kepler was exposed to Greek and Latin, music and mathematics. And it was in geometry that he thought he glimpsed the image of perfection. He was later to write: "Geometry existed before the Creation. It is coeternal with the mind of God. Geometry provided God with a model for the Creation. Geometry is God himself."


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