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In this programme John Fauvel of the Open University steps back in time to the study of Johannes Kepler to discuss with him the process through which he derived his laws of planetary motion. The pr...ogramme is designed to give some insight into the working of Kepler's mind in the context of the religious, political and personal problems which intruded heavily upon his time.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: U202, Inquiry
Item code: U202; 12
First transmission date: 01-03-1981
Published: 1981
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:34
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Producer: Roger Penfound
Contributors: John Fauvel; John Bennett
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Astronomy; Johannes Kepler; Planetary motion; William Gilbert
Footage description: John Fauvel opens the programme by talking about the changing state of knowledge in the 17th century, and Kepler's role in the re-evaluation of the changing perception of the earth's position in the universe. He then talks to Kepler, as played by John Bennett, about his astronomical observations and the work of Copernicus. Kepler explains the metaphysical reasons he has for supporting the Copernican view of the Universe. He then describes his theory to explain the number of planets in the solar system. He argues that geometry was used by God as a model for creation. Mankind understands the laws of nature because God implanted in him an understanding of geometry. Kepler then describes his work with the astronomer Tycho, who set him the task of working out the motion of Mars. Eight years of work led him to state that Mars' path was an ellipse. He describes the method of inquiry which finally led him to this discovery. Kepler argues that he wanted to show that all heavenly motions are caused by a simple material magnetic force. He talks about the work of William Gilbert on the philosophy of magnetism and his discovery of a law for comparing the motions of the planets. Shots are heard in the background; Kepler complains about the hardships of his life, disturbed by war and poverty. He talks about the harmonics of the planets and plays descriptive pieces on a harpsichord, symbolic of the celestial harmonies. John Fauvel comes away from the set and describes the pioneering work done by Kepler in other subject areas and his importance to the development of physics and mathematics.
Master spool number: 6HT
Production number: FOUD125A
Videofinder number: 1308
Available to public: no