Archive for History of Exact Sciences

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 103–116 | Cite as

The Kepler Problem from Newton to Johann Bernoulli

  • David Speiser


Newton solved what was called afterwards for a short time “the directKepler problem” (“le problème direct”): given a curve (e.g. an ellipse) and the center of attraction (e.g. the focus), what is the law of this attraction ifKepler's second law holds?

The “problème inverse” (today: the “problème direct”) was attacked system-atically only later, first byJacob Hermann, then solved completely byJohann Bernoulli in 1710 and followingBernoulli byPierre Varignon. How didBernoulli solve the problem? What method did he use for this purpose and which of his accomplishments do we still follow today?

In the second part various questions connected to the first part are dealt with from the point of view, Conflict and Cooperation, suggested byJ. van Maanen to the participants of the Groningen conference.


Kepler Problem 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Speiser
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CH-4144 Arlesheim Scuola Normale SuperiorePisa
  2. 2.Institut de Physique Theorique de I'UCLLouvain-la-Neuve

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