Person: Schoy, Carl
Carl Schoy was a German historian of mathematics specialising in Arabian mathematics and astronomy.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Schoy did not perform particularly well at the college.
- Like many German students of this time, Schoy spent a semester at a different university and he chose to spend the winter semester of 1904 at the University of Heidelberg.
- Schoy had a remarkable desire to study the widest range of subjects but his main effort was put into courses in mathematics and astronomy.
- As well as teaching Schoy mathematics and science, these two professors gave him a deep interest in the history of mathematics.
- Seeliger saw that Schoy was a bright young man and gave him excellent advice as well as teaching him the methods of modern astronomy.
- He also arranged for Schoy to give private tuition at the Observatory and so enabled him to gain sufficient funds to carry on with his studies.
- Schoy would have liked to have made a career in an observatory or in a geographical institute after his university studies but the situation in the country meant that such an appointment looked almost impossible.
- Frieda Ettwig (1889-1962), who had entered the Realgymnasium in Essen in 1907, was one of Schoy's pupils.
- Schoy worked as a teacher in the Realgymnasium in Essen over the following years but also continued research for his doctorate.
- Schoy was awarded his doctorate, a Dr. Ing., in 1911 for his thesis Die geschichtliche Entwicklung der Polhöhenbestimmungen bei den älteren Völkern Ⓣ(The historical development of pole altitude rules among older people).
- However, there were food shortages, and Schoy's health problems, which had begun when he was still in Munich, continued to get worse.
- In the summer vacations the Schoys would travel south and spend some time in much more pleasant surroundings.
- In the summer of 1917 Schoy took the opportunity to increase his expertise in the Arabic language.
- Teaching at the university in the occupied city was almost impossible so Schoy still could not fulfil his dream of teaching university students.
- Dr Schoy, who has already done a good deal in this direction for Arab mathematics, points out in the preface to his translation what can be gathered from this modest little treatise.
- Let us give a little more information about the last years of Schoy's life.
- On 1 October 1925, Schoy achieved his life long ambition when he took up an appointment as "Lehrauftrag fur Geschichte der exacten Naturwissenschaften im Orient" in the University of Frankfurt am Main.
- Schoy combined all these qualities, that is, he had gradually combined them at the cost of long studies and in spite of ill health and increasing discomfort.
- We all felt that Schoy, if he had been granted to live ten or twenty years longer, would have increased considerably our understanding of oriental mathematics and astronomy.
- In his short life time, Schoy had done much very valuable work in uncovering the buried treasures of Arabian mathematics, including in particular many on astronomical and geographical subjects.
- In his earlier years handicapped by poverty, and later by an insidious and incurable disease, Schoy's career compels our admiration for his never-failing courage and indomitable will, no less than for his scientific achievements.
Born 7 April 1877, Bittelschiess, near Messkirch, Germany. Died 6 December 1925, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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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