* 1601 Geisa
† 1680 Rom
The polymath Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) entered the Jesuit Order in 1618. After having studied in Paderborn, Coblenz, Heiligenstadt, Mainz and Speyer, Kircher became a professor of mathematics and philosophy as well as of Hebrew and the Syrian language. In 1631 the scholar went to Avignon. Later Kircher initially taught mathematics and Hebrew at the Collegium Romanum and then spent all of his time on studying hieroglyphics and other objects. His comprehensive scholarliness is proven by his numerous scripts, living up to the ideals of the baroque-style era by dealing with all fields of animated and unanimated nature. Kircher wrote about Coptics, wrote a dictionary for the ancient Egyptian language and dealt with topics in the field of natural sciences such as magnetism, optics, geology and mineralogy. In addition to that he wrote about medicine (among other things about the origin of the plague) and about the theory of music. Kircher was also the first person to conduct blood tests with a microscope.