Over the centuries, Prague has hosted many outstanding scientists from across Europe – among them the German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler. Kepler spent a full twelve years of his life in the Bohemian capital at the beginning of the 17th century and it was here that he carried out some of the most important observations. This week a new museum opens to the public in Prague in the actual house where the astronomer lived 400 years ago.
John Dowland’s period piece “What Poore Astronomers Are They” was performed by musicians at the museum’s opening ceremony. Johannes Kepler himself was not a rich man, certainly not in the financial sense of the word, as life in the service of Emperor Rudolph II was not one of plenty. But Kepler’s Prague stay was all the richer as far as his work was concerned. Astronomer Jiří Grygar speaking outside the historic building close to Charles Bridge that houses the museum:
“Kepler lived in this house at a time when he was finishing the work on the first two laws that were published 400 years ago.”
The house in Prague’s Old Town was the last residence of Johannes Kepler and his family in the city. For five years he walked from this building across Charles Bridge to the imperial court at Prague Castle.
Kepler’s years in Prague were the most fruitful period of his life. It was here that he observed a supernova in 1604, the hexagonal structure of snowflakes in 1611, and much more. Mathematician Alena Šolcová specialises in the life and work of Johannes Kepler.
“During his life in Prague, Kepler published more than thirty papers. Among them the most interesting is Astronomia Nova. Kepler also published two optical papers in Prague and in the second one he suggested a new telescope which today has Kepler’s name – Kepler’s telescope.”
The Kepler Museum, commemorating the scientist’s fruitful years in
Prague is located in 4 Karlova Street. It is open every day except Monday
from 10 am to 6 pm.
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