? - 14.01.1687, ПАРИЖ ФРАНЦИЯ
Датский математик и астроном (р.1619). Переписывался с Ньютоном по вопросам теории движения Луны. Опроверг метод Кассини определения линии апсид по трем положениям.
Born: Eutin (?), Schleswig-Holstein, ca. 1619
Died: Paris, 14 Jan 1687
Dateinfo: Birth Uncertain
2. Father Occupation: Schoolmaster Martin Kauffman was probably a shoolmaster at Oldenburg, Holstein.
No information on financial status.
Birth: Eutin [?], Schleswig-Holstein, then Denmark
Death: Paris, France
Schooling: Rostock, M.Phil. (list as M.A.), Leiden 1632, matriculated at Univ. of Rostock. 1641, received M.Phil. I assume a B.A.
Studied for a short time at Leiden.
Affiliation: Lutheran : Lutheran (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics, Astronomy
Subordinate: Navigation, Astrology While at Copenhagen, Mercator produced several textbooks on elementary astronomy, geography, and spherical trigonometry. Later he did a Latin translation of Kinckhuysen's Dutch Algebra. His Logarithmotechnia, 1668, with a series for calculating logarithms, spurred Newton to set his methods down
in De analysi. Mercator's Hypothesis astronomia nova, 1664, combined Kepler's ellipses with his vicarious hypothesis. His Institutiones astronomicae, 1676, gave a good exposition of contemporary astronomical theory. He exchanged letters with Newton on lunar theory, and he demolished Cassini's method of determining the line of apsides of a planetary orbit from three solar sightings. Mercator advertised himself as an expert in the theory of Gerard Mercator's map projection, and he published a paper on navigation in the Philosophical
Transactions. He composed a manuscript Astrologica rationalis, which was never published.
Described in detail in General Dictionary.
7. Means of Support Primary: Academia, Schoolmastering, Patronage 1642, on the philosophy faculty at Univ. of Rostock. 1648-1654, on the faculty at Univ. of Copenhagen, was forced to leave when
the university closed due to plague. By 1660, he was in England suffering monetary difficulties. He supported himself tutoring in mathematics, received some patronage, and tried to make
some money from his marine chronometer. 1682, he accepted the commission from Colbert to plan the waterworks at Versailles, moved to France, and died after a few years.
8. Patronage Types: Academic, Scientist, City Magistrate, Government Official He was taken on at Rostock through the influence of the Hebraist, Hein. Cosmographia (1651), Trigonometria sphaericorum logarithmica (1651), and Astronomica sphaerica (1651) all are dedicated to the city council of Co
penhagen. Cromwell noticed his tract on calendar improvement (1653), but it is not
known whether he was invited to England because of it. Moray acted as his patron at the Royal Society. He was responsible for his nomination, and saw to it that Mercator received the assignment to make re
gular barometric measurements for the Society. He presented a large clock which showed the inequality of the sun's motion from its apparent motion to King Charles II, who is said to have understood
and commended it but gave Mercator nothing for it. 1676, Hooke unsucessfully proposed him as mathematical master at Christ's
Hospital. 1669, Collins, at Seth Ward's suggestion, commissioned him to write a Latin
version of Kinckhuysens Dutch Algebra. Colbert commissioned him to plan the waterworks at Versailles, but they had
a falling out sometime before Mercator died.
9. Technological Involvement Types: Instruments, Navigation, Hydraulics 1666, he designed a pendulum marine chronometer. 1669, he invented an efficient method for sailing into the wind and impro
ved his clock.
10. Scientific Societies Membership: Royal Society On the strength of his marine chronometer (and with Moray's help) he was elected into the Royal Society in 1666, though he did not participate until
1.not in the DNB. 2.J.E. Hofmann, Nicolaus Mercator (Kauffman), sein Leben und Wirken, vorzugsweise als Mathematiker (in Academie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz [Abh. der Math.-Nat. Kl., no. 3, 1950]) [Swain QA29.M5H7] John Aubrey, Letters... and Lives of Eminent Men, 2 (London, 1813), 450-1, 473. [DA447.A3 W2 v.2] 3."Mercator, Nicolas," in Pierre Bayle, A General Dictionary Historical and Critical, tr. John P. Bernard, Thomas Birch, and John Lockman, 10 vols.
(London, 1734-41), 7, 537-9.
Compiled by: Richard S. Westfall Department of History and Philosophy of Science Indiana University
The Galileo Project Development Team: email@example.com
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