Publisher description for Heavenly intrigue : Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brahe, and the murder behind one of history's greatest scientific discoveries / Joshua Gilder and Anne-Lee Gilder.


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Johannes Kepler changed forever our understanding of the universe. With his three laws of planetary motion he laid the foundation for the discovery of the universal law of gravitation and set physics on the course of revelation it follows to this day. Kepler was one of the greatest astronomers of all time. Yet if it hadn’t been for the lesser known Tycho Brahe, the Imperial Mathematician at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor in Prague, the man for whom Kepler apprenticed, Kepler would be a mere footnote in today’s science books. Brahe was the most famous astronomer in his era, one of the first great systematic empirical scientists, and one of the earliest founders of the modern scientific method. His forty years of planetary observations—an unparalleled treasure of empirical data—contained the key to Kepler’s historic breakthrough. But those observations would become available to Kepler only after Brahe’s death. This groundbreaking history portrays the stormy collaboration between these two astronomers at the turn of the seventeenth century and their shattering discoveries that would mark the transition from medieval to modern science.

Yet that is only half the story. Based on recent forensic evidence (analyzed here for the first time) and original research into the medieval/Renaissance history of alchemy and buttressed by in-depth interviews with leading historians, scientists, and medical specialists, the authors have put together shocking and compelling evidence that Tycho Brahe did not die of natural causes, as has been believed for four hundred years, but was systematically poisoned—most likely by his assistant, Johannes Kepler.

An epic of scientific discovery, HEAVENLY INTRIGUE is a tale of protean invention, personal ambition, the search for truth and beauty amid power politics, court intrigue, superstition, and the ever-present quest to reach farther into the universe.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Brahe, Tycho, 1546-1601 Death and burial, Astronomers Denmark Biography, Kepler, Johannes, 1571-1630, Science History 17th century, Science, Renaissance