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Regiomontanus
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Mathematician
    (June 6, 1436-July 6, 1476)
    Born in Königsberg, Bavaria, Germany
    Birth name was Johannes Müller
    Mathematician and astronomer
    Wrote 'On Triangles' and 'Epitome of Ptolemy's Almagest'
    He was known by a crapload of names during his life including Johannes von Königsberg, Johannes Molitoris (a Latinized version of Müller), Johannes Germanus (Johannes the German) and Johannes Francus (Johannes from Franconia).
    Fifty years after his death, someone decided this was not enough and translated 'von Königsberg' ('from the king's mountain') into Latin to create Regiomontanus.
    He was a practicing astrologer.
    In his books, he frequently alluded to proofs of his theories without actually presenting them.
    Parts of 'On Triangles' about spherical trigonometry were taken without credit from a work by the 12th century Arab mathematician Geber.
    There was a rumor that he was poisoned by relatives of a mathematician whose translation of Ptolemy he had criticized. (The more prosaic explanation is that he died in a plague epidemic.)
    He entered university at age 11.
    He set up his own printing press, effectively becoming the first publisher of science books (1472).
    He was summoned to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV to help reform the Julian calendar.
    His listing of discrepancies between the predictions of the astronomical theories of the day and actual observations influenced Copernicus.
    Comments in letters he wrote suggest that he might have beaten Copernicus in proposing a heliocentric solar system if he had not died at a young age.
    A crater on the moon was named after him.

Credit: C. Fishel


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