KEPLER’S HERITAGE IN THE SPACE AGE (400th anniversary of the publication of Kepler’s Astronomia Nova)

Prague, 24 – 27 August 2009

Johannes Kepler came to Prague as a mathematician and a Copernican. He joined the group of assistants working on Tycho Brahe’s very precise measurements of positions of planets. Amid the ideological divisions that prevailed in Europe at the beginning of the 17th century the tolerant environment in Rudolphine Prague allowed Kepler to devote himself to his scientific work. In the years 1600 – 1609, Kepler worked in Prague on his magnum opus, Astronomia Nova. At the end of 1608, the Emperor provided his final financial contribution and in the spring of 1609 Kepler’s treatise was published and sent for distribution at the Frankfurt spring book fair. The work included the derivation and formulation of the first two laws of planetary motion that now carry Kepler’s name. Kepler’s Harmonice mundi, which includes his third law, was published in Linz ten years later. Kepler’s results may be seen as completing the ‘Copernican revolution’ in astronomy; they gave a more precise form to fundamental ideas in astronomy and became the starting point of a new phase in the development of human knowledge in a wide range of disciplines, as well as in philosophical views of the world. The formulation of Kepler’s laws may be seen as undermining Aristotelian physics and philosophy. The laws are not only fundamental to modern astronomy but also encouraged the development of mechanics and the mathematical apparatus associated with it. They stimulated the growth of analytic geometry and differential and integral calculus, leading eventually to theoretical solutions of various technical problems. Kepler’s contemporaries included Galileo, Bruno, Brahe, and Hagecius, but his work also influenced scholars of later generations, such as Descartes, Fermat, Pascal, Torricelli, Harvey, Newton, the Bernoullis, Huygens, Bacon, and many others. In view of Kepler’s historical importance, the National Technical Museum Prague decided to organize an International Conference in Prague in August 2009, in collaboration with the Charles University in Prague, The Czech Technical University, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR), the Council of the Scientific Societies of the Czech Republic, the Astronomical Institute of the ASCR, the Institute of Physics of the ASCR, the Institute of Geophysics of the ASCR, the Institute of Philosophy of the ASCR, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University, the Institute of Astronomy of the Charles University, the Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics of the Masaryk University in Brno, the Czech Astronomical Society, the Society for the History of Sciences and Technology, the Stefanik Observatory in Prague, the Observatory Upice, and the Observatory and Planetarium in Ceske Budejovice.

The conference fits in well as part of the project for the International Year of Astronomy. It represents the contribution of the Czech scientific community and follows the International Astronomical Congress that takes place in Rio de Janeiro in the first half of August 2009. The scientific revolution of the 17th century continues to be a centre of attention for historians of science and for philosophers. The purpose of the Conference is to pull together current research on the scientific, cultural and social conditions surrounding the origins of Kepler’s laws and to examine the influence of these conditions on the further development of scientific and philosophical thought.

We invite you to inform if you intend to participate in the Conference and to tell us the subject of your proposed presentation. We should be grateful if you would help us by passing on this announcement about the Conference to other specialists.

Please send your reply to the e-mail address [email protected]. Further information can be found on

KEPLER’S HERITAGE IN THE SPACE AGE Date and Place: August 24 – 27, 2009 National Technical Museum Prague and possibly some institutions connected with Kepler’s activities in Prague

Conference organizer: National Technical Museum Prague ConferenceCo-Organizers: Czech Astronomical Society Society for the History of Sciences and Technology

Organizing Committee:

Dr Jiri Grygar, CSc., Committee President, Institute of Physics of the ASCR, Prague Doc. Dr Petr Hadrava, Dr Sc., Astronomical Institute of the ASCR, Ondrejov Mgr. Horymir Kubicek, Director General, National Technical Museum, Prague Ing. Zdenek Rasl, Deputy Director for Collections Creation, National Technical Museum, Prague Ing. Antonin Svejda, Head of the Exact Sciences and Geodesy Section, National Technical Museum, Prague Doc. Dr Martin Solc, CSc., Astronomical Institute, Charles University, Prague Ph Dr Daniel Kamas, Head of the Presentations and Public Relations Department, National Technical Museum, Prague Mgr. Pavel Najser, Observatory and Planetarium of the City of Prague, Prague Ing. Jana Ticha, Observatory and Planetarium Ceske Budejovice and Klet Obsevatory Ph Dr Milos Horejs, Head of the Science and Research Department, National Technical Museum, Prague Dr Ivana Lorencova, Head of the History of Science and Technology Section, National Technical Museum, Prague Mgr. Eva Smidova, The Czech Technical University, Prague Dr Frantisek Blahak, CSc., Observatory Upice Pavel Suchan, Astronomical Institute of the ASCR, Ondrejov Mgr. Jan Janik, PhD., Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno

Scientific Advisory Board:

Dr. Volker Bialas, Kepler Kommission, Munich, Germany, Chairman of the Advisory Board Prof. Dr. Franz Pichler, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria Prof. Jan Sebestik, CNRS, Paris, France Dr. Suzanne Débarbat, Observatoire de Paris, Paris, France Prof. Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, U S A Dr. David Koch, Kepler Mission, NASA, Ames Research Center, California, U S A Prof. SONG Sang-yong, Seoul, South Korea Dr J. V. Field, Birkbeck, University of London, U K Dr. Gerhard Betsch, Mathematisches Institut, Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany Robert J. Malone, Ph.D., History of Science Society, University of Florida, Gainesville, U S A Prof. Eberhard Knobloch, European Society for the History of Science (ESHS), Institut für Philosophie,Wissenschaftstheorie, Wissenschafts- und Technikgeschichte, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany Dr. Gabriele Schonherr, Astrophysikalisches Institut, Potsdam, Germany Dr. Jaroslav Folta, CSc., Prague, Czech Republic

Conference patrons:

The Czech Academy of Sciences, the Charles University, Prague City Hall, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic

Preliminary programme:

Monday, August 24 10:00 – 12:30 Opening Ceremony in Karolinum (open to the public, welcome speeches by the Chancellor, Mayor of Prague, mayors or representatives of the Kepler towns; possibility of registration)

15:00 – 18:00 Registration Session 1 19:00 Formal opening of the astronomical exhibition of the National Technical Museum

Tuesday, August25

9:00-13:00 Session 2

14:00 – 18:00 Session 3, optional trip to Benatky and Jizerou 19:00 Concert


9:00 – 12:00 Session 4

14:00 – 17:00 Session 5

19:00 Conference dinner in Letensky zamecek

Thursday, August 27

Trip to Linz Prague Astronomical city walk

KEPLER’S HERITAGE IN THE SPACE AGE Narodni technicke muzeum, Kostelni 42, 17078 Praha 7 e-mail [email protected]