Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/334

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

John Kepler was born and reared in poverty, and all his life had to struggle to keep actual want from the door. There could scarcely be a greater contrast than that presented by these two men: Brahé, the favored son of fortune, possessing all that wealth and princely favor could procure, acknowledged as the foremost philosopher of his day; Kepler, with nothing to commend him to notice save a passion for knowledge and longing to learn the hidden meaning of equations and formulae and mystic numbers. The common bond between them was the love of the truth and the capacity for taking infinite pains. For the progress of the race each of these men needed the other, and dame fortune's immediate problem was the bringing them together.

PSM V78 D334 Geocentric system after tycho brahe.png
Geocentric System after Tycho Brahé

By so doing it would be possible for Brahé to pass on to Kepler the completion of his own work, and at the same time train him for an even greater task.

In 1590 James I., of England, visited Denmark and spent eight days with Tycho and his wonderful instruments. On leaving he presented the astronomer with various gifts, and among these was a pet dog of which the astronomer became very fond. Now this canine became the innocent cause of much trouble to his master, for it seems that one day the chancellor of Denmark brutally kicked the poor beast. This was too much for Tycho's temper—never very even—and he roundly berated the chancellor for his cruelty. Of course there is more to the story than just this, but at all events Tycho made a powerful enemy.