History of Mathematics

Logarithms
Johannes Kepler ©August Köhler
1614 Jan 1

Logarithms

Europe

The 17th century saw an unprecedented increase of mathematical and scientific ideas across Europe. Galileo observed the moons of Jupiter in orbit about that planet, using a telescope based Hans Lipperhey's. Tycho Brahe had gathered a large quantity of mathematical data describing the positions of the planets in the sky. By his position as Brahe's assistant, Johannes Kepler was first exposed to and seriously interacted with the topic of planetary motion. Kepler's calculations were made simpler by the contemporaneous invention of logarithms by John Napier and Jost Bürgi. Kepler succeeded in formulating mathematical laws of planetary motion. The analytic geometry developed by René Descartes (1596–1650) allowed those orbits to be plotted on a graph, in Cartesian coordinates.


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