Georg von Peuerbach
|Georg von Peuerbach|
Georg von Peuerbach: Theoricarum novarum planetarum testus, Paris 1515
May 30, 1423|
Peuerbach near Linz
|Died||April 8, 1461
|Institutions||University of Vienna|
|Alma mater||University of Vienna|
|Academic advisors||Johann von Gmunden|
Little is known of Peuerbach's life before he enrolled at the University of Vienna in 1446. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1448. His curriculum was most likely composed primarily of humanities courses, as was usual at the time. His knowledge of astronomy probably derived from independent study, as there were no professors of astronomy at the University of Vienna during Peuerbach's enrollment.
From 1448 to 1451 Peuerbach traveled through central and southern Europe, most notably in Italy, giving lectures on astronomy. His lectures led to offers of professorships at several universities, including those at Bologna and Padua. During this time he also met Italian astronomer Giovanni Bianchini of Ferrara. He returned to Vienna in 1453, earned his Masters of Arts, and began lecturing on Latin poetry.
Peuerbach has been called the father of mathematical and observational astronomy in the West. He began to work up Ptolemy's Almagest and Alhazen's On the Configuration of the World. He replaced Ptolemy's chords with the sines from Arabic mathematics, and calculated tables of sines for every minute of arc for a radius of 600,000 units. This was the first transition from the duodecimal to the decimal system. His observations were made with very simple instruments, an ordinary plumb-line being used for measuring the angles of elevation of the stars. Cardinal Bessarion invited him to Rome to study Ptolemy in the original Greek and not from a faulty Latin translation. He accepted on condition that Müller go with him. On account of the master's death the pupil went alone to complete the work.
Peuerbach is also noted for his great attempt to reconcile the opposing theories of the universe, the so-called homocentric spheres of Eudoxus of Cnidus and Aristotle, with Ptolemy's epicyclic trains. This work, Theoricæ novæ planetarum, had an enormous success and remained the basis of academic instruction in astronomy until years after Nicolaus Copernicus had swept away all these hypotheses.
He worked at the Observatory of Varadinum(Oradea) (also called Großwardein/Oradea/Nagyvárad) in Transylvania and established in his "Tabula Varadiensis" the town's observatory as lying on the prime meridian of Earth.
- He is credited with the invention of several scientific instruments, including the regula[disambiguation needed], the geometrical square. By several Peuerbach is credited for the "Jacob's Staff" as well, but this is not plausible since the original Jacob's Staff was an instrument developed in the 14th century, prior to his lifetime.
- The crater Purbach on the Moon is named after him.
- Theoricæ novæ planetarum, id est septem errantium siderum nec non octavi seu firmamenti (1st ed., Nuremberg, 1472, by Regiomontanus; followed by many others in Milan and Ingolstadt);
- Sex primi libri epitomatis Almagesti, completed by Regiomontanus (Venice, 1496; Basle, 1534; Nuremberg, 1550);
- Tabulæ eclypsium super meridiano Viennensi (2nd ed., Vienna, 1514);
- Quadratum goemetricum meridiano (Nuremberg, 1516);
- Nova tabula sinus de decem minutis in decem per multas, etc., completed by Regiomontanus (Nuremberg, 1541).
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Fox, William (1913). "George von Peuerbach". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
- Ralf Kern: Wissenschaftliche Instrumente in ihrer Zeit. Band 1: Vom Astrolab zum mathematischen Besteck. Köln, 2010.
- O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Georg von Peuerbach", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
- Electronic facsimile-editions of the rare book collection at the Vienna Institute of Astronomy
- "Peuerbach, Georg von". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
- Thony C (May 30, 2011). "The astronomical revolution didn’t start here!". The Renaissance Mathematicus. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- Online Galleries, History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries High resolution images of works by and/or portraits of Georg von Peurbach in .jpg and .tiff format.