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Gemma Frisius (1508 - 1555)

Field(s) of interest: scientific instruments | mathematics | astronomy
Gender: male

Born: Dokkum, 1508
Died: Leuven, 1555

Mathematican, astronomer, astrologer, physician, cartographer and instrument maker. He was born in Dokkum, Friesland of poor parents, who died when he was young. He moved to Groningen and studied mathematics and astronomy at the University of Leuven. While still a student, Frisius set up a workshop to produce globes and mathematical instruments. He made his first globe in 1527 together with Gaspar van der Heyden and Franciscus Monachus. Next to globes Frisius made astrolabes, cross staffs and astronomical rings in his workshop. His students included Gualterus Arsenius (who succeeded him after his death and who was also possibly his nephew), Gerardus Mercator, Johannes Stadius, John Dee, Andreas Vesalius and Rembert Dodoens.

Collection: Museum Boerhaave Leiden; Fries Museum Leeuwarden.

Mathematican, astronomer, astrologer, physician, cartographer and instrument maker: 1531 - 1555 (Leuven)

K. van Cleempoel, A catalogue raisonne of scientific instruments from the Louvain school, 1530-1600 (Turnhout 2002).

E. Morpurgo, Nederlandse klokken- en horlogemakers vanaf 1300 (Amsterdam 1970).

K. Cleempoel e.a., Scientific instruments in the sixteenth century : the Spanish court and the Louvain School : Fundacion Carlos de Amberes Madrid 26 November 1997-1 February 1998 (Madrid 1997).

F. Gratien van Ortory, Bio-bibliographie de Gemma Frisius, fondateur de l'Ecole Belge de Géographie, de son fils Corneille et de ses neveux les Arsenius (Bruxelles 1920/ Amsterdam 1966).

G. Kish, Medicina, Mensura, Mathematica : the life and works of Gemma Frisius, 1508-1555 (Minneapolis 1967).

K. van Cleempoel en A. Turner, 'A Master-work of Mathematical Art from 16th Century Louvain', in: Bulletin of Scientific Instrument Society 66 (2000), 9.

H. Michel, Recherches sur l'orgine de Gemma Frisius (Bruxelles 1952).