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Wilhelm Schickard

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Data mortii:

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22 April 1592

Herrenberg (near Tübingen), Württemberg (now Germany)

24 Oct 1635

Tübingen, Württemberg (now Germany)

Wilhelm Schickard was educated at the University of Tübingen. After receiving his first degree, B.A. in 1609 and M.A. in 1611, he continued to study theology and oriental languages at Tübingen until 1613.

In 1613 he became a Lutheran minister at towns around Tübingen. He continued this work with the church until 1619 when he was appointed professor of Hebrew at the University of Tübingen. Schickard was a universal scientist and taught biblical languages such as Aramaic as well as Hebrew at Tübingen.

In 1631 he had rather a change of subject being appointed professor of astronomy at the University of Tübingen.

His research was broad and included astronomy, mathematics and surveying. He invented many machines like one to calculate astronomical dates and one for Hebrew grammar.

He also made significant advances in mapmaking, showing how to produce maps which were far more accurate than those which were currently available.

Long before Pascal and Leibniz , Schickard invented a calculating machine in 1623 which was used by Kepler . He wrote to Kepler suggesting a mechanical means to calculate ephemerides.

Schickard corresponded with many scientists including Boulliau , Gassendi and Kepler .

Among his other skills, Schickard was renowned as an engraver both in wood and in copperplate. Schickard died of the plague either on the day given above or, possibly, one day earlier.

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