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Philip van Lansberge

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25 Aug 1561

Ghent, Netherlands (now Belgium)

8 Dec 1632

Middelburg, Netherlands

Philippe van Lansberge was born in the Netherlands but his family left there in 1566 going first to France, then to England.

Lansberge studied mathematics and theology in France and England. He then went to Flanders where, in 1579, he became a minister at a Protestant church. The following year he moved to become minister at an Antwerp church but, after five years in Antwerp, the Spanish armies came and Lansberge returned to the Netherlands. He enrolled as a theology student at Leiden in 1585 but moved to be minister at a church in Goes the following year.

Lansberge remained in Goes from 1586 until 1613 when he ran into political problems and left to go to Middleburg. Here he spent the last 20 years of his life and here, as well as publishing mathematical works, he practised medicine.

In 1591 he wrote a 4 volume work on mathematics. Volume 1 was on trigonometric functions; volume 2 gave methods of constructing tables for sines, tangents, and secants derived from Viète and Fincke and giving the tables themselves; volume 3 contained plane geometry following Regiomontanus while volume 4 contained spherical trigonometry.

In 1616 Lansberge wrote on π calculating it to 28 places using a new method.

Lansberge's work on astronomy followed Copernicus . He wrote works supporting Copernicus 's theories in both 1619 and 1629. However he did not accept Kepler 's ellipse theories and he published astronomical tables which he hoped would support Copernicus over Kepler .

Source:School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland