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Brozek, Jan [Broscius, Brocki, Broski, Broszcz, Brzoski, Zbroek]

1. Dates
Born: in a small town (Kurzelow) in the province of Sieradz (central Poland), 1 Nov. 1585
Died: Bronowice, 21 Nov. 1652
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 67
2. Father
Occupation: Gentry
Jakub (1542-1608), an educated landowner with a modest holding by Polish standards. This is what I call gentry.
Neither wealthy nor poor; I guess affluent is the word.
3. Nationality
Birth: Polish
Career: Polish
Death: Polish
4. Education
Schooling: Krakow, M.D. Padua
Brozek began his education by learning the art of writing and the principles of geometry from his father. He went to primary school in Kurzelow and then to the University of Krakow, where he passed his baccalaureate in March 1605.
In 1618 travelled to Torun, Gdansk, Warmia and Ducal Prussia to gather memoirs and manuscripts of Copernicus, with the intention of writing his biography.
From 1620 to 1624 Brozek studied medicine in Padua, received M.D. in 1624.
He passed his baccalaureate in 1629, received the master of theology in 1648, and the doctor of theology in 1650, at Krakow. (Coming that late, and in view of his whole career, I won't list the theology degrees.)
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
He took part, on the side of the University of Krakow, in the fight against the Jesuit domination of schools, sending reports to Rome and making ten trips to Warsaw in order to defend the university's rights.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics
Subordinate: Astronomy, Cartography
Brozek was the author of more than 30 publications. The ones concerning Copernicus, and particular those dealing with mathematics, won him the reputation of being the greatest Polish mathematician of his time. In the second group were his pure mathematical works and opuscules, the most important being Arithmetica integrorum (1620), in which logarithms were introduced in schools; Aristoteles et Euclides defensus contra Petrum Ramum ( 1638), a dissertation containing original research on the star-shaped polygons.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia, Church Life
Secondary: Schoolmastering, Patronage
It appears that Brozek did not come from a particularly wealthy family. There is no indication of his initial benefactors. Nevertheless, what appears in the course of his adult career is a progression of increasingly lucrative ecclesiastical appointments, the most lucrative of which came in 1632 (see below). In the last two decades of his life, he was wealthy enough to bestow large sums of money on Krakow University. (Perhaps a note on the relatively meager support for academics in Poland is in order here. According to Brückner (pp. 519-20), inadequate support in part explains the low level of scholarly production and the domination of scholarship by the Jesuits and Dominicans.)
1605, taught at cathedral school in Wloclawek.
1607, consenior at St. Anne's parish school in Krakow.
1608, private tutor of the son of the magnate, Martin Zborowski.
In 1610 Brozek won the rank of magister, and in 1611 he was ordained a priest.
1611, rector of All Saints College.
1614-29, professor of astrology at the Collegium Minus of the University of Krakow. Note that his medical studies in Padua fall right in the middle of this appointment.
1624, personal physician to Bp. M. Syszkowski.
1624-5, physician to the bishop of Krakow.
1625-30, professor of rhetoric.
1629-39, professor of theology.
1629-32, appointed parson in Jangroc by Bp. Syszkowski.
1629, became canon of St. Anna's church.
1630, promoted to Canon of St. Florian's.
1631-8, director of the library of the Collegium Minus.
1632, received wealthy parsonages in Staszow and Miedzyzrzecz from the Palatine of Krakow.
1639, resigned from St. Florian Canonate.
1649, Canon of Krakow Cathedral.
1652, rector of the University of Krakow.
8. Patronage
Types: Aristrocrat, Eccesiastic Official
It is impossible to distinguish all of the sources of patronage. The early relationship to Zborowski certainly looks suggestive. Someone had to stand behind all of those appointments, and they could not all have come from ecclesiastical patrons, although the permission to study in Padua while holding a chair and his immediate appointment as personal physician to the bishop sound as though he certainly enjoyed large ecclesiastical patronage.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
1611-12, came into contact with the Belgian mathematician Adriaan van Roomen, who had a significant influence on his later studies.
Corresponded with Galileo in 1621.
Corresponded with T. Turner, 1624.
  1. A.Birkenmajer, "Brozek, Jan", in Polski Slownik Biograficzny, 3, (Krakow, 1937), 1-3.
  2. Pollak, Roman, Bibliografia literatury polskiej. Pismiennictwo staropolskie, (Warsaw: Panstwowy Instytut Wydawn, 1963-65), 2, 49-53.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. S. Temberski, Roczniki, (Krakow, 1897).
  2. J.Krakowski, Se septem sideribus, quae Nicolao Copernico vulgo tribuuntur, (Krakow, 1926).
  3. Babski, B., "Jan Brozek, wielki polski tworca nauki," Polonia, nr. 3910.
  4. Barycz, H., "Rozwoj nauki w Polsce w dobie Odrodzenie," Odrodzenie w Polsce. Materialy Sesji Nauk. PAN 25-30 Pazdziernika 1953 r. T. 2: Historia Nauki. Cz. 1 w-wa 1956 i osob. pt. Dzieje nauki w Polsce w epoce Odrodzenia.
  5. ____, "Zwiazki intelektualne Pomorza z Uniwersytetum Krakowskim w XIV-XVII w." Przeglad Zachodne, 1955 nr. 1/2 s. 243.
  6. Bukowski, T. "Jan Brozek, wybitny matematy polski," W. ksiazce: Nauke Polska w sluzbie postepu. W-wa, 1953.
  7. Franke, Jan. N., Jan Brozek, akadimik krakowshi, jego zycie i dziela. (Krakow, 1884).
  8. Majer, J., "Zawod lekarski J. Brosciusca," Roczn. Wydz. Lek.
  9. Univ. Jagiel. t.5 (1842).
  10. Sawicki, "Prof. dr. Jan Brozek z Kurzelowa," Przeglad Geodezyjny 1954 nr. 3.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

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©1995 Al Van Helden
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