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Borrichius [Borch], Olau

1. Dates
Born: Noerre Bork, in Ribe, Denmark 7 Apr 1626
Died: Copenhagen, 13 Oct 1690
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 64
2. Father
Occupation: Parish Priest In Noerre
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Danish
Career: Danish
Death: Danish
4. Education
Schooling: Copenhagen; Angers, M.D.
Secondary: went to school in Ribe.
University: I assume B.A. or equivalent.
He entered U of Copenhagen in 1644 to study medicine. There until about 1650.
Travelled and studied through Europe, 1660-6.
He received MD at Anger in 1664.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Chemistry, Alchemy, Medicine
Subordinate: Botany
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Academia, Patronage
Secondary: Schoolmaster, Governmental Position
ca. 1650, taught at the chief grammar school in Copenhagen for a time.
Medical practice; won fame as physician during 1654 plaguge epidemic, which led to:
1655, became tutor to the sons of Joachim Gersdorf, the lord high steward (Rigshofmester).
He was physician to Frederik III and Christian V.
1660, appointed professor ordinarius of philology and professor extraordinarius of botany and chemistry (these were supernumerary until 1664); held these posts for nearly 30 years; salary of 500 rdl. He was allowed to travel while holding these positions until 1666.
1674-6, Decon of philosophy faculty.
1686, appointed counselor to the Supreme Court of Justice.
1689, appointed counselor to the Royal Chancellery.
He was twice Rector Magnificus at University.
He developed a large and profitable medical practice.
Royal Physician to Frederick III and Christian V.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Government Official
Kings Frederick III and Christian V.
Governmental official (Gersdorf).
In Florence, 1664-6, he came under the favor of the Grand Duke Ferdinand II and his brother Leopold, and was allowed to use the Medici library.
As a result of his bravery in fighting in the Siege of 1658- 9, and on the recommendation of Gersdorff, the king gave him a royal tithe, which allowed him a certain percentage of the tithes in the Stroe parish in the district of Frederiksborg for life.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Med, Metallurgy, Pharmacology
Docimastice metallica, 1667, (translated into many languages), expounded the method of analyzing the most important metals. Metalischer Probierkunst, 1680.
De usu plantarum indigenarum in medicina, 1688, was a popular textbook with detailed demonstrations of how to heal common illnesses with the help of domestic plants.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Informal: close friend of Thomas Bartholin, Niels Stensen, Ole Worm, and Simon Paulli.
1658-4, toured Europe, met various scientists.
Formal: no scientific ones, but a member of the Accademia della Crusca in Florence, 1665.
  1. Lynn Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science -- discusses his science.
  2. H. D. Schepelrn, "Ole Borch", Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, (Copenhagen, 1937), 2, 356-7.
  3. V. Ingerslev, Dansk Laeger og Laegeraesen, (Copenhagen, 1873-4), pp. 492-00.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. E. F. Koch, Oluf Borch, (Copenhagen, 1866).
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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