Running Head: LIFE OF JOHANN MULLER REGIOMONTANUS
Life of Johann Muller Regiomontanus
Johann Muller von Konigsberg lived between 1436 and 1476. He has been widely known with his Latin pseudonym as Regiomontanus. He goes down the line of history as one of the most important German scholars in various fields including mathematics, astronomy and astrology. He is recognized as the most successful mathematician and astronomer in Europe in the 15th Century. He was also a sough after astrologer although it has been argued that his interest in astrology decreased with his age. He is also credited to be among the first printers. His contribution in the field of mathematics, astrology and astronomy remains strong. His early life
Regiomontanus was born in a village called Fraconian near Konigsberg in Bavaria. Therefore his name is Johannes Muller of Konisgberg although his Latin name was Joanes de Regiomonte simply abbreviated as Regiomontanus He spent a good part of his early years at home where he got his basic education. By the age of 11 he was sent to Leipzig where he started his formal education. After only three years at the school, he later continued with his studies at Alma Mater Rudolfina which is the University of Vienna in Austria. He was awarded a baccalaureate (masters) in 1452 but he could receive due to his age limitation. Therefore he was forced to wait until he was 21 so that he could receive the master degree. It is here were he becomes a very close fried of George von Peurbach. At fifteen years, he graduated from the university with a degree in Arts or magister atrium. Therefore he got his bachelor degree at the age of fifteed. His meeting with George von Peurbach was one of his most important moments as Georg later turned to be his mentor. George von Peurbach (1423-1461) was a renowned mathematician and astronomer and had studied mentored by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa but he rejected Nicholas’s speculations that the earth could have been moving around the sun. He was a great admirer of Ptolemy and had even planned to write a correct version of Almagest which was to be based on some of the existing Latin translations. (Brown, 1990) Regiomontanus formed a strong father-son bond with Peurbach but the death of Peurbach left him in a great shock. However he was given the duty of completing the translation of Almagest. (Hughes, 1967) This formed the initial task of the young student. He studied Greek in order understand the Ptolemy and complete the transition. It was from this work that he became very much interested in Old Greek and some Latin Manuscripts and he has a large collection His contribution to mathematics
Regiomontanus contribution to mathematics can be traced to his work in trigonometry. He worked on the tables of sines and tangents which were later to be printed to be used by astronomers. They were of very great practical use. They were extensively used in calculation of decimal instead of the sexagesimal system which was used before. Notable among his work was Tabulae primi mobilis in which he provides a number of solutions for spherical triangles although they were later to be superseded when logarithmic technique of calculation was developed. It has to be noted that he contributed great to the theoretical grounding for mathematical in one of his printing De ominmodies triangulis omnimodi libri quinque. Although this work was not completed it was later printed in Nuremberge around 1533. It was of great use to the later astronomers including Copernicus and Tycho Brahe who also contributed greatly to the field. (Swerdlow, 1999) In 1461, he completed retranslating that had been begun by his fried Peuberch of Ptolemy’s almagest. His translation of the Almagets from Arabic to Latin spurred new interests in mathematics. Later the Ptolemy was refuted by Copernicus. The Ptolemy introduced...
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