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Hoffmann, Friedrich

1. Dates
Born: Halle, 19 Feb 1660
Died: Halle, 12 Nov 1742
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 82
2. Father
Occupation: Physician, Government Official
He was the son of Friedrich Hoffmann (1626-1675), a well- known municipal physician of Halle. In 1675, he lost his parents and a sister within a few days.
By assumption prosperous.
3. Nationality
Birth: Halle, Germany
Career: Halle, Germany
Death: Halle, Germany
4. Education
Schooling: Erfuhrt; Jena, M.D.
He was taught at home, including anatomy and pharmacology, and from 1673, he attended the gymnasium.
1678-1680, University of Jena, studying medicine under Georg Wolfgang Wedel.
1680, University of Erfurt, studying chemistry.
I assume the equivalent of a B.A. somewhere.
1680, returned to Jena, received his M.D. (1681).
1684, he embarked on an extended tour of Belgium, Holland, and England, studying medical methods.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran assumed
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine, Chemistry
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Government, Academia
1681, he taught at Jena, but jealousy from the senior faculty led to his departure.
1681-1683, he was in Minden, where he had an "official salaried position." I presume this was related to medicine.
1684-1688, after returning from his European tour, he resumed his sucessful medical career. He was named garrison physician (1685), then councilor and provincial physician for Minden (1686).
1683-1693, provincial physician for Halberstadt.
1693, first professor of medicine at the University of Halle, charged with organizing the medical school.
1709-1712, court physician to Frederick I in Berlin.
1712-1734, back in Halle.
1734, summonded to treat Frederick William I for about 8 months.
1734, returned to Halle.
8. Patronage
Type: Court Official
His brother-in-law (whose name and occupation I have not discovered) was reportedly responsible for his first position in Minden (above).
Frederick II, elector of Brandenburg, chose Hoffmann for the position at Halle (1693). Later, as King Frederick I of Prussia, he named Hoffmann a councilor (1703), and called him to be court physician in Berlin (1709).
[Reverse Patronage] Hoffmann himself was given the honor of appointing the second professor of medicine at Halle. He chose his former fellow student, Georg Stahl.
Owing to the recommendation of Boerhave, Frederick William I also summonded Hoffmann to the Prussian court for treatment (1734); after seeing him through his illness, Hoffmann departed, handsomely rewarded.
Emperor Charles VI called Hoffmann to Carlsbad for a consultation.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
He practiced medicine off and on through his career was quite successful at it.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Royal Society, Berlin Academy, Russian Academy (St. Petersburg), Academia Leopoldina
Member of the Leopoldina (1696), the Berlin Academy (1701), the Academy of Sciences of the Palatinate ("Ak. d. Wiss. Hopfalzgraf") (1727), the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg (1731 or 1735), and the Royal Society (1720).
  1. A. Hirsch, Allgemeine deutsche Biographie ?, 584-8. [ref. CT1053.A4] A. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Aerzte aller Zeiten und Voelker (3rd ed., Munich, 1962) [ref. Z6658.B615 1962] 3, 256-9.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. The best biography is evidently Johann H. Schulze, in Hoffmann's Opera Omnia, 1, i-xiv.
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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