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Peter Apian

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Peter Apian

*  1495 Leisning
† 1552 Ingolstadt


Peter Apian was born Peter Bienewitz (or Benewitz) on April 16, 1495, in Leisnig, Saxony. In 1516, Apian began studying mathematics, astronomy, and geography in Leipzig, later moving to Vienna, where he completed his studies in 1521. Apian was appointed professor for mathematics at the University of Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria) in 1527, where he lived and taught until his death on April 21, 1552. Apian worked mainly on the description and use of scientific instruments but also made astronomical observations and published various cartographic works. The pinnacle of these practical depictions is his "Instrument Buch" (1533), which was published in German. An early book on navigation by Apian, "Cosmographicus liber" (1524), so impressed Emperor Charles V that he not only publicly honored him at the Diet in Regensburg in 1530, but also later granted him the right to print in 1532 and a civil coat of arms in 1534. In turn, Apian dedicated his "Astronomicum Caesareum" (1540) to the Emperor and his brother in thanks for the honors. The "Astronomicum Caesareum" is a magnificent tome with many intricately designed discs to represent the movement of the planets. Apian was appointed to the position of court mathematician by Charles V in 1541, who also raised him and his brothers to knights of the kingdom, and granted him the title Imperial Duke of the Court and Palatinate in 1544. Today Peter Apian is considered one of the important Renaissance scholars who distinguished themselves through their extremely versatile scientific and editorial work.