History

Summarize each of the inventions you studied this week and how they impacted history. Then: compare the telescope and the microscope inventions. Describe 1) how they are similar, 2) how they are different, and 3) if you noticed any character traits that the inventors of each have in common.

Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler had a big influence on history. When he was six years old his mother took him to see the great comet of 1577. And when Kepler was nine he was shown a lunar eclipse, and it was unusually red. Those two things stuck with him through time.


He wanted to become a minister, but he was so good at math and astronomy that he was recommended to teach at a Protestant school in Germany. And so when he was 23 he accepted the teaching position, and that sparked events that changed the course of history.

Kepler knew that the world was created by God, and he viewed the sun at the centre of the universe as the lightness of God the Father; and the universe around it as analogous to God the Son, and the space around all that as God the Holy Ghost. To him, it made sense from a design standpoint that the sun should be in the centre of the universe. He wrote a book that made him known as a great mathematician and astronomer. Then he started working for an astronomer named Tyco Brah, but after a year, Tyco died. Before dying, Tyco told Kepler that he did not want to die in vain and told him to continue the Tychonic System. Instead, Kepler wrote the Astronomia Nova where he denied the Tychonic system, the Ptolemaic system and the Copernican system. After this he set about calculating the entire orbit of Mars, using the geometrical rate law and deeming an egg-shaped ovoid orbit. After 40 failed attempts, he thought of the idea of using the ellipse, which had previously been overlooked by other astronomers. Kepler’s law was not accepted for a long time by people, and some astronomers rejected it. But Kepler’s discoveries and investigations helped the future of astronomy.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo’s father was a professional lute player and people payed him to play for them. He invested that money in learning about the science of music. He investigated the mathematics of chord construction and he taught Galileo all he knew about science and even how to play the lute. Galileo became quite good at it. Galileo really wanted to become a priest, but his father convinced him to become a physician.

In 1581 when he was studying medicine, he saw a swinging chandelier and noticed that no matter how widely it was swinging, it took the same amount of time to swing back and forth. So he went home and set up two pendulums of equal length, and swung one with a big sweep and one with a small sweep. He noticed that they kept time together.

One day when he was going to class he accidentally went to a geometry class and that inspired him to learn astronomy and math. Galileo tried to convince his dad to let him major in natural philosophy, and though his father was very reluctant, he let him learn natural philosophy. Galileo was very good at it. Galileo used science to investigate the cosmos and disprove the Tolamaic model of the universe. He built his own tools to help him with his work. He also invented the compass and the thermometer. He was known most for improving the telescope in 1609, and he published his discoveries in a book. He found the four moons around Jupiter, and discovered that the Milky Way is not a nebula, but a lot of stars far away, and that the moon is not smooth. Galileo applied mathematics to physics. The study of physics throughout the middle ages had become more and more philosophical and less scientific, because of the influence of Greek philosophy that had spread through the universities and that taught people to say, “well, Aristotle said”. Galileo wrote a letter that many people read, in which he showed his measurements and the heliocentric theory, and said “the Bible should not be taken literally on the topic of the earth being in the centre of the universe”. Because of this, Galileo was put under house arrest for his books and what he had said. He died at the age of 72 in 1642.

The Side Rule

In the 1550’s, Spain, Portugal, and England were sailing back and forth across the Atlantic ocean. Spain and Portugal were trading goods like gold and silver, while England was being a pirate and stealing those goods. Sailors used, at that time, the Back-Staff to navigate at sea. There was lots of multiplication and division that people had to do. So astronomers invented the star chart, however there too a lot of calculation had to be done to figure out where you were going using the stars.

In 1614 a Scottish mathematician named John Napier introduced the concept of the logarithm. He wanted to make it easier for sailors and astronomers to do their work; he didn’t want those people to be spending their time doing calculations when they could be spending their time doing more useful things.

Logarithm examples

Log3(9) = 2 , so Log of 3 squared of 9 equals 2.

(37 x 69) = log(37) + log(69).

By 1630 an English mathematician invented the slide rule. The slide rule makes it easier to multiply and divide.

There were other slide rules that had other capabilities.

The slide rule became very popular and it was improved over time. The slide rule was very helpful for engineering and had a great impact on history.

John Napier

John Napier was born in Scotland in 1550. When John was 9 years old his father received a letter from his brother (John’s uncle), saying that he should send young John Napier to Archibald so he could seek honour and get a good job. He entered the university at the age of 13 and became very interested in theology. People do not know much of what happened after that but, some people think he moved to Europe for a while and attended university.

In 1517, when he was 21, he had the family estate transferred to him. He built a castle, got married and moved in. He spent his days managing the estate and focused on improving his work efficiency. He studied fertilizer to see which kind would work the best for his crops. His hobby was math and working the estate. And though his real passion was theology, he did not have much time for that.

Napier’s greatest invention was the logarithm. He really wanted to help people. He invented something called “Napier’s bones”. It was a set of ivory rods with numbers on them, and they where used to help calculate. He was very gifted with mathematics, and also had an amazing work ethic. He wrote a book that was full of 10 million logarithms that helped many people to focus on what they are good at and not the tedious math. That took 20 years to write.

Character traits that the inventors of each have in common.

Each of the above inventors were inspired from a young age. They all had great work ethic. They all were told to be something that they did not want to be but then decided to do what they were good at. All of them took at step back and figured out what was needed. They actually checked the science when other inventors and scientists overlooked many things.

Comparing the telescope and the microscope

They are very similar in the sense that they are both scopes and bring things closer. The telescope makes distant things seem closer, like planets, stars, etc. The microscope makes small things, that are hard for the human eye to see, seem larger (or magnifies them).

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