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By anyone’s measure, Johannes Kepler ranks as a gold medalist in the history of science.This great German mathematician and astronomer (contemporary with the King James Bible and the Pilgrims) discovered fundamental laws of nature that have stood the test of time and are still widely used today.Though the telescopes of his day were too crude to detect the parallax shift, he was right again, and the Hipparcos satellite (1989-1993) used this principle to refine our measurements to thousands of stars.

The These discoveries alone would be enough to guarantee Kepler membership in the science hall of fame, but there’s much more.

Not only was he the Father of Celestial Mechanics, Kepler is also considered the Father of Modern Optics.

These were the first truly scientific laws, based as they were on empirical data and not authority or Aristotelian logic.

They were also solidly based in mathematics, and could be used to make predictions.

Devout by nature, he decided he would serve God as a clergyman.