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Fink [Fincke], Thomas

1. Dates
Born: Denmark, 1561
Died: Denmark, 1656
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 95
2. Father
Occupation: Merchant And Alderman (Mag)
He was prosperous enough that he left some sort of inheritance to Fincke. I find later that the father had married into the Thorsmede family, one of the richest bourgeois families in Denmark. After some thought I am listing him as affluent rather than wealthy.
3. Nationality
Birth: Denmark
Career: Denmark
Death: Denmark
4. Education
Schooling: Strassburg, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Padua, Pisa; Basel, M.D.
Until 1577 grammar school in Flensburg.
1577-1582, studied under Dasypodius in Strasbourg.
Later attended Jena, Wittenberg, Heidelberg (matric. 1582), Leipzig (matric 1582), Basel (studied medicine, 1583), Padua (1583-1587), and Pisa (1586).
In Padua Procurator of the German Nation (1583), Consiliarius of the German Nation (1586), instrumental in founding of a type of regent (coemiterium) for the German Nation (1587).
1587, received M.D., Basel. I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics
Subordinate: Astronomy, Medicine
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia, Medicine
Secondary: Personal Means, Patronage
Fincke had an inheritance, managed by his uncle Reinholt Thorsmede, until Fincke took over management about 1580.
1587, practiced in Flensburg as a physician for a while. In fact he practised as a physician throughout his life.
ca. 1590, physician-in-ordinary to Duke Philip of Holstein- Gottorp, until the duke's death in 1591.
1591, professor of mathematics, Univ. of Copenhagen. Called to the chair at the request of the chancellor Niels Kaas.
1593 and 1599, Decon in philosophy faculty.
1601, endowed with a "vikarie" (some sort of church position) in Aarhus. (I consider this as patronage.)
1602, professor of rhetoric, Univ. of Copenhagen.
1603, professor of medicine, Univ. of Copenhagen. Also Decanus perpetuus in faculty of medicine, in which position he remained, drawing the salary, until his death.
1603, Exchanged the vikarie for a more profitable canonry in Roskilde.
1598, 1606, 1615, 1624, 1633: rector of university.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Government Official
Geometriae Rotundi libri XIV is dedicated to King Frederick II.
The chancellor Niels Kaas evidently called him to Copenhagen in 1591. Chancellor Christian Friis also apparently favored him.
Thomas Finke (as he is in Danish) stood, as far as I can tell, at the beginning of a sort of academic oligarchy that must have depended on the patronage of the court, though I do not now have any information that gives me insight into how they maintained the good will and support of the court over four generations. It is worth noting that Fincke's cousin (Drude Thorsmede, the daughter of Reinholt Thorsmed (the brother of Fincke's mother) was married to Peder Soerenson, who was apparently another academic. The Thorsmede family was one of the richest in Denmark, and perhaps their riches had some role in this saga of patronage. Fincke had two daughters who married Caspar Bartholin and Ole Worm, both of whom had chairs at the Univ. of Copenhagen. (I found later that Worm was the permanent substitute decon of the medical faculty for Finke from 1640-54.) Caspar's sister married Christian Soerensen (Longomontanus). Caspar's two sons, Erasmus and Thomas both had chairs. I think I have seen reference to Thomas' sons, whom he installed in chairs--if I recall, no less than four in number (and not confined to the sciences). Erasmus's daughter married Ole Roemer, who (after she died) married Else Magdalene. After Roemer died, Else married Thomas Bartholin, the grandson of the Thomas above). Ole Worm's granddaughter (so it appears) was at one time engaged to Ole Borch (or Borrichius) though the engagement was broken off. I have accounted in this paragraph for nine of the fifteen Danes who appear (for my period of two centuries) in the DSB. I might add that two of the others were connected to each other. Winslow was the grand nephew of Stensen. Stensen was very close to Thomas Bartholin. This is quite a tale of closed family circles.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
see 6 above.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Was in contact with Brahe, Magini, Peder Soerensen, Caspar Bauhin, his son-in-law Caspar Bartholin and Ole Worm, and his grandsons Thomas and Erasmus Bartholin, and no doubt mang others during a long life.
  1. C.M. Taisbak, "Fincke," in Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, 4 (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1980), pp. 398-9. [ref. CT1263.D33 v.4 1979] H.F. Roerdam, Kjoebenhauns Universitets historia fra 1537 til 1621 (Copenhagen, 1873-77), 3, 550-62. [LF4457.R717 v.3]
  2. V. Ingerslev, Danmarks Laeger og Laegevaesen, (Copenhagen, 1873- 4), pp. 261-7.
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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