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  • 11/22/2003

Erasmus Reinhold senior

(22 Oct.1511-Feb.1533)

He was born in Saalfeld on October 22nd, 1511. His father, Johann Reinhold, was first privy secretary of the last abbot in Saalfeld, Georg von Thüna, later both steward of the former Bededictine monastery (which became secular property in 1534) and alderman in the town council of Saalfeld.
After attending the Saalfeldian town school Erasmus Reinhold was enrolled at the University Wittenberg for the winter term 1530 to study mathematics.
There the academic degree Master of Science was bestowed on him and in 1536 he got a professorship.
In 1540 he became dean of the philosophical faculty and taught based on antique knowledge geometry of Euklid, arithmetics, the science of the circle and Ptolemy's geography. He was on friendly terms withPhilipp Melanchton.
The studies in mathematics became the basis of his astronomical research. In 1540 he used the camera obscura for observation for the first time and proved that the moon's orbit was not circular, but elliptic.
In 1541 he published a manuscript on the horizon; in 1542 a work on the planets by the master of astronomyGeorg Purbach was edited, completed with Reinhold's remarks and drawings.
After decades of research Erasmus Reinhold's most important work "The Prussian Tables of Coelestrial Motion" was printed in Tübingen, in which he as a supporter of Copernicanism published calculations of the movement of the planets and the to be expected solar eclipses.
In 1549 his results obtained were appreciated by reelecting him dean of the philosophical faculty. In the winter term 1549/50 he was even invested with the duty of the rector.
In summer 1552 he returned to Saalfeld in order to recover from physical and private buffets of fate at his parents'. Here he died on February 1553, aged 42 years.

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