Skip to main content

Georg von Peuerbach

Georg von Peuerbach

1423-1461

Austrian Mathematician and Astronomer

Author of a work containing a table of sines, Georg von Peuerbach advanced mathematics in general with his use of Hindu-Arabic numerals in his sine tables. His student was the German astronomer Regiomontanus (1436-1476), who completed Peuerbach's monumental work on Ptolemy (c. 100-170), Epitome in Almagestum Ptolemaei, after his teacher's death.

Peuerbach's family name, like many in the Middle Ages, was derived from his hometown of Peuerbach, upper Austria, where he was born on May 30, 1423. He undertook his studies at Vienna and graduated in 1446. Seven years later, he earned a master's degree, then spent the year 1453-1454 travelling through Germany, France, and Italy as an astronomy lecturer. In 1454, he received an appointment as court astronomer to King Ladislas of Hungary.

In 1456, Peuerbach observed what came to be known as Halley's comet and recorded his observations. A year later, on September 3, 1457, he and Regiomontanus observed a lunar eclipse from a site near Vienna and also recorded it. Among Peuerbach's early astronomical works was Tabulae ecclipsium, which contained tables of his eclipse calculations. He later published additional tables and developed several astronomical instruments for making observations, as well as a large star globe.

Theoricae nova planetarum discussed the epicycle theory of the planets first presented by Ptolemy, and included Peuerbach's assertion that the planets revolve in transparent but solid spheres. Despite this erroneous notion, he was forward-thinking in his suggestion that the planets' movement is governed by the sun—an early step toward the refutation of the geocentric (Earth-centered) cosmology propounded by Ptolemy.

Nonetheless, Peuerbach remained a committed devotee of the ancient Greek mathematician right up to the time of his own death in Vienna on April 8, 1461. In 1462 or 1464, Regiomontanus completed the Epitome, which was finally published in 1474.

JUDSON KNIGHT

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Georg von Peuerbach." Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Georg von Peuerbach." Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 20, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/georg-von-peuerbach

"Georg von Peuerbach." Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. . Retrieved November 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/georg-von-peuerbach

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.