Kepler’s astronomy: an interplay between kinematics and dynamics


Bussotti, Paolo (University of Udine)


The fundamental elements of Kepler’s dynamics will be explained. They were offered by Kepler in Astronomia Nova and Epitomae Astronomiae Copernicanae. Afterwards, I will analyse the connections among such elements and the first two Kepler laws. For, an interesting conceptual and historiographic problem exists: is it possible that a “wrong” dynamics is the basis of a “correct” kinematics? Or, rather, Kepler developed independently the kinematical and the dynamical aspects and, after that, tried to arrive at a synthesis in order to offer a complete physical theory of the planetary movements? In the final part of my talk, I will try to provide an answer to this profound and fascinating questions.

Essential bibliography
Kepler, J. (1937–2012). Gesammelte Werke, Van Dyck W,

Caspar M. et al. (eds). Revised April 2013. 10 Vols. München: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft und Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. Abbreviated as KGW.

Kepler, J. (1609) Astronomia Nova. In KGW, III. English translation (1992). New Astronomy. Translation by William H. Donahue. Cambridge: The Cambridge University Press.

Kepler, J. (1618–1621). Epitome astronomiae copernicanae. In KGW, VII.

Koyré, A. (1973). The Astronomical Revolution: Copernicus – Kepler – Borelli. London. Methuen. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press. First edition 1961.

Pisano, R. - Bussotti, P. (2018). On the Conceptualization of Force in Johannes Kepler’s Corpus: An Interplay Between Physics/Mathematics and Metaphysics, in R. Pisano, J. Agassi, D. Drodzova (Eds.), in Hypotheses and Perspectives in the History and Philosophy of Science. Homage to Alexandre Koyré 1892-1964: 295-345. Cham: Springer.

Stephenson, B. (1987). Kepler’s Physical Astronomy. New York - Berlin - Heidelberg - London - Paris - Tokyo: Springer.

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Bussotti, Paolo (University of Udine)

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