Speaker Bios

Name: Günther Oestmann

Günther Oestmann (b. 1959) has been trained as a clockmaker and studied history of art and history of science in Tübingen and Hamburg. In 1992 he received a PhD with a study on the astronomical and astrological significance of the clock in Strasbourg Cathedral and in 2001 he completed a postdoctoral thesis (Habilitation) on Heinrich Rantzau and his attitude towards astrology. In 2013 the Musée international d'horlogerie (La Chaux-de-Fonds) awarded the "Prix Gaïa" to him, and in 2014 he was elected as corresponding member of the International Academy of the History of Science (Paris). Three years later Oestmann was appointed as extraordinary professor for history of science at Technical University Berlin. Fields of research: History of scientific instruments and clocks, history of astronomy/astrology and mathematical geography, maritime history.

Abstract Title: 'Resonances and Repercussions of Kepler's Harmony of the World'

Name: Aviva Rothman

Aviva Rothman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Case Western Reserve University. She received her PhD in History from Princeton University in 2012. She has served as a Collegiate Assistant Professor and a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago, and as a Bradley Fellow at Carthage College. Her first book, The Pursuit of Harmony: Kepler on Cosmos, Confession, and Community (University of Chicago Press, 2017) focused on German astronomer Johannes Kepler and the connections he saw between the harmony of the heavens and the harmony of church and state. She has two book manuscripts in progress: an anthology of texts on the Copernican Revolution for the Penguin Classics series, and a monograph on the relationship between science and myth in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Abstract Title: 'Kepler's Vision of Harmony'

Name: Ralph Abraham

Ralph Abraham has been professor of matthematics for nearly 60 years -- specializing in theories and computations of chaos and bifurcation for complex dynamical systems -- at Berkeley, Columbia, Princeton, and Santa Cruz. Author of math texts such as Foundations of Mechanics, and Dynamics, the Geometry of Behavior, he is an editor of the International Journal of Bifurcations and Chaos, and of World Futures. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Abstract Title: 'Kepler's Music of the Spheres, a Lecture Demonstration'

Name: Maria Blazhevich

Maria Blazhevich is Organist of the Tomsk State philharmonic hall. She graduated with honors from the Kazan State Conservatory with concentrations in piano and organ. She completed her training at the department of organ and harpsichord of the Moscow State Conservatory of P. I. Tchaikovsky, and in 2012 received a masters' degree based on her thesis, "Numerical Symbolism in the Musical Theory and Practice of the 17th Century (on the material of German keyboard music)". She is the author of a number of publications on the history of ancient music.

Abstract Title: 'Kepler's Harmonies of the World: from the Cosmic Cup to the Music of the Spheres'

Name: Nicholas Campion

Nicholas Campion is Associate Professor in Cosmology and Culture, Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and the Performing Arts and Director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the only academic centre in the world to consider humanity's relationship with the sky. He is Programme Director of the University's MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. His books include the two-volume History of Western Astrology (London: Continuum 2008/9), Astrology and Cosmology in the World's Religions (New York: New York University Press, 2012) and Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West: Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement (Abingdon: Ashgate, 2012). The New Age in the Modern West: Counter-Culture, Utopia and Prophecy from the late Eighteenth Century to the Present Day (London: Bloomsbury 2015).

Abstract Title: 'The Harmonices Mundi as a Utopian Text: Johannes Kepler's Astrology and the Pursuit of the Perfect Society'

Name: Karine Dilanian

Karine Dilanian (Moscow, Russia) holds an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK. She is a co-founder of the Institute for the Study of Cosmology and Astronomy in History, Philosophy and Culture in Moscow, Russia. Karine is the originator and a publisher of The Kepler Project, a publication of the astrological handwritten manuscripts of Johannes Kepler. She was a speaker at the Sophia Centre key-concept lecture on Kepler and presented her research at the SEAC 2016 and 2018 conferences.

Abstract Title: 'In Search of the Ideal Historical Process - Alexander Chijevsky and Johannes Kepler'

Name: Giora Hon

Prof. Giora Hon teaches History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Haifa, Israel. He has published widely on the theme of error in science from historical and philosophical perspectives; see his "On Kepler's Awareness of the Problem of Experimental Error." Annals of Science 44 (1987): 545-591. Together with Bernard R. Goldstein he published, "Kepler's Move from Orbs to Orbits: Documenting a Revolutionary Scientific Concept," Perspectives on Science 13 (2005): 74-111 and then embarked, with Bernard R. Goldstein, on a thorough study of the concept of symmetry: From Summetria to Symmetry: The Making of a Revolutionary Scientific Concept (Dordrecht: Springer 2008). With Yaakov Zik he published "Kepler's Optical Part of Astronomy (1604): introducing the ecliptic instrument," Perspectives on Science 17 (2009): 307-345. He coauthored with Bernard R. Goldstein the chapter, "The Nesting Hypothesis for Planetary Distances and Its Persistence Over the Centuries and Across Cultures," in Patrick Manning and Abigail Owen (eds.), Knowledge in Translation: Global Patterns of Scientific Exchange, 1000-1800 CE (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press 2018), Ch. 12.

Abstract Title: 'Harmony vs Symmetry: Kepler's view and the need for Spielraum'

Name: Andrey V. Kuzmin

Andrey V. Kuzmin is a researcher at The S. I. Vavilov Institute of the History of Science and Technology, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. He received his PhD in Physical and Mathematical Sciences in 2000, and a PhD in the History of Art in 2004. He is a member of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture.

Abstract Title: '"Mathematics of the Cosmos" and "Philosophy of Chaos": On the History of the Polemic between Johannes Kepler and Robert Fludd'

Name: Astrid B. Leimlehner

Astrid Bernadette Leimlehner was born and lives in Linz, Austria. In the 1990s she studied psychology at the University of Salzburg. She holds certificates in print and radio journalism (1996 and 1999) and received her MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology with distinction in 2015. In 2016, the Alumni Association of the Sophia Centre awarded her the first Dissertation Prize. Currently Astrid works as an independent scholar, speaks at conferences (Sophia Centre conferences in 2016 and 2017; SEAC conference in 2018) and writes papers of which one was published in 2018 and two are forthcoming in 2019. Some of her research interests are: historical, philosophical and psychological perspectives of astrology, alchemy and other fields related to the stars like cartomancy; comparing the impact that native languages (German and English) have on practitioners' thinking about and use of fields of knowledge like astrology; the representation of the stars in literature; and other subjects related to the stars.

Abstract Title: 'Kepler's Notion of the Words "psychological" and "astrological" with a Consideration of Biographical and Public Contexts'

Name: J. McKim Malville

Dr. Malville obtained his BS in physics from Caltech and his PhD in radio astronomy and solar physics from the University of Colorado. His first teaching position was at the University of Michigan where he was a Sloan Research Fellow. Returning to Boulder he was on the research staff of the High Altitude Observatory and then he moved the University of Colorado where he served as Chairman of the Department of Astro-Geophysics, Director of the College's Honors Program, and Director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. His research interests have ranged from the aurora, the interstellar medium, solar physics, and, more recently, archaeoastronomy. In 1997 he was a member of the team that revealed the world's oldest known megalithic astronomy at Nabta Playa near Abu Simbel in southern Egypt. In 2003 he was involved in the rediscovery of Llactapata and its sun temple, previously lost in a cloud forest near from Machu Picchu. In 2014 received the Fourth Carlos Jaschek Award from the European Society for Astronomy in Culture for his work in archaeoastronomy. He is presently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado.

Abstract Title: 'The Harmonious Entanglement of Worlds'

Name: Jonathan Regier

Jonathan Regier is an FWO postdoctoral fellow at Ghent University. His recent publications have considered the mathematization of nature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the relationship in this period between medicine, physics and religious institutions. He has also recently co-edited a volume on early modern concepts of space and spatiality (Springer, 2016). Before coming to Ghent, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He took his PhD at Université Paris Diderot with a thesis on causality in Kepler's natural philosophy. He is assistant editor of Centaurus.

Abstract Title: 'Seeing by Spirit: Kepler in Ficino's Shadow'

Name: Valerie Shrimplin

Valerie Shrimplin is currently Senior Research Associate at Gresham College London (previously the registrar/effectively CEO). She was awarded her PhD for her research entitled 'Sun Symbolism and Cosmology in Michelangelo's 'Last Judgment' and has subsequently produced many academic publications focusing on the influence of astronomy and cosmology on art and architecture, particularly of the Byzantine, medieval and Renaissance periods. She is currently the Chair of the series of Conferences on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena (

Abstract Title: 'Borromini and the cultural context of the Harmonices Mundi'

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