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Metius, Adriaan

1. Dates
Born: Alkmaar, Netherlands, 9 Dec 1571
Died: Franeker, 1635.
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 64
2. Father
Occupation: Engineer
His father was a cartographer and military engineer.
Considering his career, he had to be prosperous.
3. Nationality
Birth: Alkmaar, Netherlands
Career: Netherlands
Death: Franeker, Frisia
4. Education
Schooling: Franeker, Leiden
Attended a Latin school in Alkmaar.
1589, entered the recently-founded Univ. of Franeker, studying philsophy.
1594, continued his studies at Leiden, where he was taught by Snell and van Ceulen.
Given the apparent five years at Franeker, I assume a B.A.
1625, received an honorary M.D. from Univ. of Franeker, which I do not list.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Assume Calvinist
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics, Astronomy
Subordinate: Alchemy, Instrumentation, Engineering
De Waard says that he spent a lot of time pursuing the philosophers' stone.
He published on the astrolabe and on surveying.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia
Secondary: Engineering
Worked under Tycho at Hveen, but only briefly.
Went from there to Rostock and Jena, where he gave lectures in 1595.
He then returned home and assisted his father in military engineering.
1598, appointed professor extraordinarius at Franeker.
1600-1635, professor ordinarius of mathematics, navigation, surveying, military engineering, and astronomy. He was allowed to teach in the vernacular.
Rector of the university in 1603 and 1632.
8. Patronage
Type: Court
After the printing of his first book, he came to the attention of prince Mauritz and Willem Lodewijk who, on 30 May 1598, were instrumental in having him named as successor to Joh. Roggins as Professor extraordinarius.
Through his publications he repeatedly won the esteem of the government.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Military Engineering, Cartography, Instruments
He assisted his father for a time as a military engineer.
His teaching at Franeker was especially geared toward the training of Frisian surveyors.
The D.S.B. lists him as an instrument maker, though little is said concerning that. I find in de Waard that he manufactured astronomical instruments.
He developed a special form of Jacob's Staff which was useful in surveying.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. C. de Waard, "Metius," Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, 1 (Leiden, 1911), cols. 1325-7. [ref. CT1143.M72 v.1] Edmond R. Kiely, Surveying Instruments, (New York, 1947), p. 200.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. W.B.S. Boeles, Frieslands Hoogeschool, 2 (Leeuwarden, 1879), 70- 5.
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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