Thomas Zebrowski

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Portrait of Thomas Zebrowski

Thomas Zebrowski (Lithuanian: Tomas Žebrauskas, Polish: Tomasz Żebrowski; November 24, 1714 in Samogitia – March 18, 1758 in Vilnius)[1] was a Jesuit architect, mathematician, and astronomer. He was instrumental in establishing and funding the Observatory of Vilnius University.[2] Marcin Odlanicki Poczobutt was among his students.[3]


Zebrowski studied philosophy and theology at Vilnius University.[1] He briefly taught at Jesuit schools in Kražiai, Ilūkste, and Babruysk and prepared construction projects for churches in these towns. They displayed features of Baroque churches in Vilnius.[3] He also designed the Jesuit school in Zhodishki (Жодишки in Belarus), houses for nobles, and other buildings.[1] Though documentary evidence is lacking, it is suspected that Zebrowski was also involved in construction of churches in Minsk and Płock, Oginski residence in Ručyca (Hanuta) village.[3]

After studying at Charles University in Prague under Joseph Stepling in 1750–52,[1] Zebrowski returned to Vilnius, becoming a popular lecturer of physics and astronomy at Vilnius University.[4] He was also interested in geodesy, horology, mineralogy, geography.[3] However, his major passion was astronomy and he pursued funding for an observatory. The construction was funded by Elżbieta Ogińska-Puzynina, while Mikolaj Radziwill and bishop Józef Sapieha donated 13.5-centimetre (5.3 in) and 10-centimetre (3.9 in) diameter reflector telescopes manufactured in Germany.[2] Zebrowski designed the observatory; its construction began in 1753.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d (Lithuanian) Zubovas, Vladimiras (1985–1988). "Žebrauskas, Tomas". In Jonas Zinkus; et al. Tarybų Lietuvos enciklopedija. 4. Vilnius: Vyriausioji enciklopedijų redakcija. p. 640. LCC 86232954. 
  2. ^ a b McConnell, Anita (2007). Jesse Ramsden (1735-1800): London's leading scientific instrument maker. Ashgate Publishing. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7546-6136-8. 
  3. ^ a b c d Rūta, Alė (1987). "Knyga apie mokslininką jėzuitą Tomą Žebrauską". Aidai (in Lithuanian). 2: 138–140. ISSN 0002-208X. 
  4. ^ a b "History". Astronomical Observatory of Vilnius University. Retrieved 2009-12-14.