From emblems to diagrams: Kepler's new pictorial language of scientific representation

Raz Chen-Morris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Kepler's treatise on optics of 1604 furnished, along with technical solutions to problems in medieval perspective, a new mathematically-based visual language for the observation of nature. This language, based on Kepler's theory of retinal pictures, ascribed a new role to geometrical diagrams. This paper examines Kepler's pictorial language against the backdrop of alchemical emblems that flourished in and around the court of Rudolf II in Prague. It highlights the cultural context in which Kepler's optics was immersed, and the way in which Kepler attempted to demarcate his new science from other modes of the investigation of nature.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)134-170
Number of pages37
JournalRenaissance Quarterly
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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