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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





1 article for "Peurbach, Georg von"

Peurbach, Georg von [Astro*Index]


(1423-1461) Austrian mathematician and astronomer.

Studied at the University of Vienna, after which he travelled in Italy (where he met Nicholas of Cusa), and returned to Vienna (in 1453) to lecture on astronomy and mathematics. The King of Hungary appointed him as Astronomer Royal. A strong advocate of Arabic Numerals (introduced to Europe 250 years earlier by Adelhard of Bath and Fibonacci) which gave him a considerable advantage over many of his contemporaries (who were still using Roman Numerals). He undertook the preparation of a table of sines using the Arabic Numerals, but died before he finished the work. His student, Regiomontanus, continued the effort; but, death also claimed him before the tables could be finished. Peurbach attempted to improve the Ptolemaic system, but failed to attack its fundamental weakness (the Earth-centered view). Worse yet, he promoted the concept that the crystalline spheres of the planets were real solids, a requirement never imposed by Ptolemy.

See also:
♦ Fibonacci, Leonardo


Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine