History of science: Trial by gender

527164a-i1While reviewing the book “The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler’s Fight for his Mother” Jennifer Rampling applauds the account of how Johannes Kepler saved his mother from being burned as a witch.

On the cover of The Astronomer and the Witch is a portrait of Johannes Kepler: confident, well dressed, half-smiling. This is the image that the imperial mathematician projected to his peers and patrons. But it is not the Kepler whom we meet in Ulinka Rublack’s enthralling book — anxious, harassed by financial and family problems, and not even the main character. Rublack’s protagonist is the great astronomer’s mother, the unfairly accused “witch” of the title. In placing Katharina centre stage, Rublack tells a new story, one that is as much social history as it is scientific revolution.

Read the review in Nature journal

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