Tycho and Kepler
The Unlikely Partnership that Forever Changed our Understanding of the Heavens
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About the author
Kitty Ferguson is the author of Measuring the Universe: The Historical Quest to Quantify Space, Prisons of Light: Black Holes and the definitive Stephen Hawking: His Life and Work. She studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and was for many years a successful professional musician, conducting and performing oratorio, early music and chamber music. In 1986 she moved to England where her husband was a Visiting Fellow and later Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. During this and many subsequent periods of residence at Cambridge, Kitty Ferguson audited graduated lectures and seminars in the Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics and got to know some of the legendary figures in those fields, including Stephen Hawking. In 1987 she retired from music to devote herself full time to writing about science.
The extraordinary, unlikely tale of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler and their enormous contribution to astronomy and understanding of the cosmos is one of the strangest stories in the history of science.
Kepler was a poor, devoutly religious teacher with a genius for mathematics. Brahe was an arrogant, extravagant aristocrat who possessed the finest astronomical instruments and observations of the time, before the telescope. Both espoused theories that seem off-the-wall to modern minds, but their fateful meeting in Prague in 1600 was to change the future of science.
Set in one of the most turbulent and colourful eras in European history, when medieval was giving way to modern, Tycho and Kepler is a double biography of these two remarkable men.
; January 2013
384 pages; ISBN 9781448167234Read online
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Title: Tycho and Kepler
Author: Kitty Ferguson
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In the press
"Ferguson doesn’t short-change her readers on the wonder-working details of 16th century European science and astronomy, which was then still close to alchemy and astrology. She is good on the profound differences in character between the rich, lordly astronomer Brahe and the poverty-stricken, middle-class mathematician Johannes Kepler, the differences between Brahe’s observational and technical obsessions and Kepler’s modest, seemingly simple-minded, genius that nagged at questions we take for granted now but which outraged his contemporaries. By putting together Brahe as Smaug the dragon sitting on a fabulous golden hoard with Kepler as Bilbo Baggins who wrests the treasure from him, and expounding the science with conscientious clarity, Kitty Ferguson has written an absorbing non-fiction fable that simultaneously stimulates our imagination and satisfies our scientific curiosity."