Johannes Kepler was a mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer. Born in Germany, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the scientific revolution that occurred in the 17th century. He is best known for the laws of planetary motion that he developed, which were the foundations of Newton’s theories about gravity. What people don’t realize, however, is that Kepler was a well-regarded inventor as well.
Top 5 Inventions by Johannes Kepler
Here is a look at some of his most influential inventions:
If you wear glasses to help you read, see things while driving, or just to help with your overall eyesight, then you have Kepler to thank. He worked with the lenses in the eyeglasses so that people who were both near and far-sighted would be able to have their vision corrected. He isn’t credited specifically with the first glasses, but the lenses that made the glasses much more useful to the average person.
2. Kepler Telescope
Because Kepler was so fascinated with the ways that planetary bodies would move, he knew that he’d need a better telescope to be able to observe the motion that could be seen in the sky. He also realized that just watching the planetary bodies move would be an inefficient tracking system, so he invented the Kepler Telescope to provide a better tracking system. The telescope gave a wider view of the sky than other telescopes of the day and then the images from the telescope could be projected to a white screen to be tracked.
3. Log Books
In order to keep track of all his observations over time, Kepler needed a way to be able to clearly and quickly check the database of information over long periods of time. Since he didn’t have an Excel spreadsheet, he invented one in the form of a log book. That way there would always be a complete record of every observation that he made so others could continue on with his work if need be.
4. The Rudolphine Tables
Taking his observational data about the sky into account, Kepler put all of the information about the stars that he collected into a star catalog and a set of planetary tables that were called the Rudolphine Tables. They were named in memory of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and included a printing of a map of the known world at the time. Most of the stars on these tables were accurate to within on arc minute and it was the first table to include atmosphere refractions.
5. The Astronomia Nova
Although this is a 650 page publication that records Kepler’s efforts to understand the orbit of Mars, it is also widely regarded as the most comprehensive work that this scientist created during his lifetime. It was one of the first major publications to argue that the Earth orbited around the sun instead of the other way around and it included a fully predictive mathematical model of the heliocentric theory.