The Somnium Astronomicum of Johann Kepler Translated, with Some Observations on Various Sources

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Authors
Falardeau, Normand Raymond S.S.S.
Issue Date
1962
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Thesis
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en_US
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Johann Kepler's Somnium became a work project from an actual need. Mr. Robert Hohmann found in the Somnium the historical method by which Kepler arrived at his techniques of the logical theory. Not finding, to his knowledge, that the Somnium had been translated, he looked for someone to do the work. Mr. Hohmann is a part time teacher in the English department of Eymard College, Hyde Park, New York, and full time employee at the International Business Machines Corporation. He then applied to the Latin department for help. Mr. Hohmann used the first draft of the translation for his talk for the American Rocket Society's meeting in Washington, December 5-8, 1960. The title of that paper was Some Extraordinary Implications of Kepler's Somnium. | The Soviet launched Lunik III on October 4, 1959 "...for the purpose of solving a number of problems connected with space research. The most important was to obtain photographic pictures of the surface of the Moon. Particular scientific interest was attached to obtaining photographs of that part of the surface which, as a result of the peculiar features of the Moon's movement, is altogether inaccessible to observers on the Earth, and also that part of the surface visible from the Earth at such angles that it cannot be reliably studied." | James E. Webb, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, gives another reason for the interest in the moon: | The scientists are convinced that the next major breakthrough of knowledge about the universe will come from an examination of the moon... You have conditions there that are particularly favorable toward an examination of how the universe came into existence, how it evolved—if you want to use that word...to search for possible forces of life, and obtain a wide range of scientific data. | By the orbital flight of Soviet's Flight Major Yuri Alekseyevich Gargarin on April 12, 1961, and the suborbital flights of Lieutenant Commander Alan B. Shepard on May 5, 1961, and Captain Virgil I. Grissom on July 21, 1961, the attention of the world has been brought to the moon and space travel. These men have seen the moon's volva as Kepler calls our earth. | For these reasons, the writer felt that such a study at the present time would unite Latin with science and science with Latin, from whose rich literature the world has borrowed heavily for so many centuries.
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Creighton University
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