On this day in 1618, the great astronomer Johannes Kepler discovered his third law: the ratio of the cube of the average distance of a planet from the Sun to the square of its period of revolution around the Sun is a constant for all planets: a3 / T2 = constant
He detailed the essence of the doctrine in his latest book, “The Harmony of the World”, where he applied his Laws to all the planets, including Earth, as well as the satellites of Jupiter. In the book, he also admired the aesthetics of the universe.
Einstein wrote about him: “He lived in an era when there was still no certainty in the existence of some general pattern for all natural phenomena. How deep was his faith in such a pattern if, working alone, supported and understood by no one, he for many decades drew strength from it for the difficult and painstaking empirical study of the motion of the planets and the mathematical laws of this motion! Now that these laws have already been established, it is hard to imagine how much ingenuity, imagination and labor was required hard and tireless to establish these laws and express them with such precision!”
Kepler not only expanded the scope of human knowledge, but he had to fight against the disgusting ignorance of his contemporaries. In 1615, his mother was accused of witchcraft, and insane charges were invented by all “legal” standards, she was accused of necromancy, corruption, blasphemy, and association with the devil, a total of 49 charges. The investigation lasted for five years, Kepler had to abandon his scientific work and act as a lawyer in the trial. And what is most amazing of all: he managed to win! But his mother lived after her release from prison for only a year: the torture did not break his spirit, but it undermined his health.
Every student uses Kepler’s discoveries and works, often without knowing it: Kepler created the table of logarithms one of the first, he also introduced the term “arithmetic mean”, the most important concept of an infinitely distant point. He also discovered the purpose of the lens in the eye and deduced the causes of nearsightedness and farsightedness. Kepler’s archive was partly lost, but most of it was purchased by the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, where it is preserved to this day, at the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
On the same day, but in 1859, Pierre Curie was born, a French physicist, one of the first researchers of radioactivity, member of the French Academy of Sciences, Nobel laureate in physics in 1903, husband of Marie Sklodowska-Curie. Since 1897, he and his wife have been studying radioactivity, the couple discovering the chemical elements radium (Ra) and polonium (Po).
In 1903 they received the Nobel Prize in Physics and spent it on laboratory equipment and… buying a bathroom for their apartment. In October 1904, Pierre Curie became a professor of physics at the Sorbonne, and Marie Curie became director of the laboratory. In 1905, he was elected a member of the French Academy of Sciences. Especially for him, the Department of General Physics and Radioactivity was formed at the University of Paris. But the happiness of the spouses was short-lived: on April 19, 1906, Pierre Curie fell under a horse-drawn carriage and died instantly. Since 1995, the Curies have found their last refuge in the French Pantheon.
On the same day, but only in 1935, the first metro line in Moscow was solemnly opened. Trains ran from Sokolniki station to Okhotny Ryad with a branch line to Park Kultury station. On the day of the inauguration, the metro had 13 stations, the length of the tracks was 11.2 kilometers, on which 12 trains circulated. Dozens of scientific institutions participated in the development of the metro project, starting with the USSR Academy of Sciences and ending with narrow-profile institutes. The transport system of the city of Moscow is considered one of the most efficient and comfortable in the world.
And on the same day and this year, an ecological month called “Unified Days for the Protection of Small Rivers and Reservoirs” begins in Russia. The action was initiated by the non-profit organization Network of Russian Rivers, a voluntary association that arose around the Volga “Let’s Help the River” movement. The organization includes more than 100 public environmental organizations from 23 regions of Russia. The task of the action is not only to collect subbotniks and clean a certain amount of rivers from garbage and other pollution, but to inspire leaders and sympathetic people to this work, who will monitor the cleanliness of rivers and lakes not for thirty days, but the 365 days of the year.
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