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Risner [Reisner, Risnerus], Friedrich

1. Dates
Born: Herzfeld, Hesse, date unknown
Died: Herzfeld, ca. 1580
Dateinfo: Flourished (two dates give known period)
Lifespan: N/A
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Herzfeld, Hesse, Germany
Career: France; Herzfeld, Germany
Death: Herzfeld, Germany
4. Education
Schooling: No University
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran
On the one hand, he was Ramus' associate after Ramus converted. On the other hand, he was buried in the church in Herzfeld, Hesse, and must therefore have been Lutheran.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Optics
Subordinate: Mathematics
Risner published the works of Alhazen and Witelo in an edition that exerted great influence. His manuscript Opticae libri quattuor (of which much was probably due to Ramus) was published in 1606, long after his death.
He never published any work in mathematics, but Ramus called him his "assistant in mathematical studies."
7. Means of Support
Primary: Patronage
Secondary: Academia
He was Ramus's protégé and colleague throughout most of his scholarly life.
1576, Risner accepted the salary of the first chair in mathematics at the Collège Royale de France for a few months. He never lectured and soon retired to Germany.
8. Patronage
Types: Scientist, Court Official
Ramus was clearly Risner's major patron. In his will, Ramus established a chair in mathematics at the Collège Royale de France and specified that Risner be its first occupant.
Risner dedicated his edition of Alhazen and Witelo to Catherine de Medici.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Christian Gottlob Joecher, Allgemeines Gelehrten-Lexicon (Leipzig, 1750-1; repr., Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1960), 3, 2112.
  2. Johann Christoph Adelung, Forsetzungen und Ergaenzungen zu Christian Gottlieb Joechers allgemeinem Gelehrten-Lexicon (Leipzig, 1784-1897; repr. Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1960), 7, 22.
  3. R. Hooykaas, Humanisme, science et réform: Pierre de la Ramée (1515-1572), (Leiden, 1958). [B785.R44H78]
  4. J.J. Verdonk, Petrus Ramus en de wiskunde (Assen, 1966), pp. 66-73.
  5. Bernardino Baldi, "Vite di matematici arabi tratti da un'opera inedita di Bernardino Baldi," Bullettino di bibliografia e di storia delle scienze matematiche e fisiche, 5, (1872), 461-2.
  6. F. Risner, Risneri opticam cum annotationibus Willibrordi Snelli, ed. J.A. Vollgraff, (Ghent, 1918).
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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