Person: Apáczai, János
János Apáczai was born in Transylvania and wrote the Hungarian Encyclopaedia.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- This background information is necessary to understand Apáczai's aims.
- Alsted and Bisterfeld were two German professors who had been appointed to Gyulafehérvár as part of the upgrading in 1629 and they were to have a big influence on Apáczai while he was a student there.
- In this same year of 1648 Bisterfeld persuaded Bishop István Katona to award Apáczai a scholarship to allow him to study abroad, and he went to study in Franeker, Leiden and Utrecht.
- Apáczai was awarded the degree of Doctor of Theology from the University of Harderwijk in April 1651.
- While in Utrecht, Apáczai studied the works of Descartes.
- Apáczai's Hungarian Encyclopaedia contains one section on arithmetic (Part Four of the Encyclopaedia) and one section on geometry (Part Five of the Encyclopaedia).
- There is no attempt at originality, this was not Apáczai's aim, rather he wanted to present advanced mathematics in the Hungarian language.
- Many of the Hungarian terms that Apáczai introduced for mathematical terms are still in use today.
- These views put him at odds with many influential people, but while Bisterfeld was at the College in Gyulafehérvár, Apáczai's position there was safe.
- After an open debate had been held, Apáczai was forbidden to teach.
- Despite this many of the students from Gyulafehérvár, who had protested when he was banned from teaching, moved to Kolozsvár to complete their education with Apáczai.
- We mentioned above that Apáczai wrote the text for teachers, but there were not the quality of teachers around to take the text and turn it into good lecture material.
Born 10 June 1625, Apáca, Transylvania, Hungary (now Romania). Died 31 December 1659, Kolozsvár, Hungary (now Cluj, Romania).
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive