Scholarship Advancement

It was not until he was 13 that Kepler finally finished his elementary Latin school in Leonberg. In 1584, he entered a Protestant seminary at Adelberg (formerly Hundsholz), Germany. Given his high intelligence, feeble health, and deep devotion to religion, Kepler's goal was to become ordained in the Protestant ministry, which would allow him a quiet life. In 1589, he began his university education at the Protestant University of T├╝bingen, Germany. Kepler was a poor man and unable to fund his own education; however, the Protestant dukes of W├╝rttemberg had devised an advanced public education system that included scholarships for the less advantaged in order to educate more clergymen in the new Protestant faith. This program provided the means for Kepler to attend the university. He concentrated on theology and philosophy, but also studied mathematics and astronomy.

It was not long before Kepler's astronomy professor, Michael Maestlin (1550-1631), one of the leading astronomers of the day, introduced him to the controversial Copernican system. Maestlin openly taught Ptolemaic astronomy, yet secretly believed in the Copernican system. Upon discovering Kepler's keen mind, Maestlin selected him as one of his pupils for the more advanced mathematics. This meant acquainting him with the details of Copernicanism. It did not take long for Kepler to become convinced that the Copernican system was the correct model of the universe, for in his mind the simple harmony of the heliocentric system was far more appealing than the complexity of the Ptolemaic system. He also learned at this time that Copernicus did not write the foreword to De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the revolutions of the celestial orbits) that stated the book was only an abstract mathematical hypothesis; in fact, it was written by the overseeing publisher, Andrew Osiander.

Telescopes Mastery

Telescopes Mastery

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