On Tycho's Island: Tycho Brahe and His Assistants, 1570-1601

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Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), the premier patron-practitioner of science in sixteenth-century Europe, established a new role of scientist as administrator, active reformer and natural philosopher. This book explores Brahe's wide range of activities which encompass much more than his reputed role of astronomer. Christianson broadens this singular perspective by portraying Brahe as Platonic philosopher, Paracelsian chemist, Ovidian poet and devoted family man. From his private island in Denmark, Brahe used patronage, printing, friendship, and marriage to incorporate men and women skilled in science, technology and the fine arts into his programme of cosmic reform. This pioneering study includes capsule biographies of over 100 men and women, including Johannes Kepler, Willebrord Snel, Willem Blaeu, several bishops and numerous technical specialists, all of whom helped shape the culture of the Scientific Revolution. Under Tycho Brahe's leadership, their teamwork achieved breakthroughs in astronomy, scientific method and research organization that were essential to the birth of modern science.