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Original scientific paper

The Contribution of Karl Scherffer in Spreading Bošković’s Scientific Results

Žarko Dadić ; Zavod za povijest prirodnih, matematičkih i medicinskih znanosti HAZU, Zagreb, Hrvatska

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Karl Scherffer, an Austrian mathematician, physicist and astronomer applied Bošković’s results in all his works; in optics at the time Bošković was in Vienna in 1757 and was especially inspired by his works on micrometer of which he informed the director of the Trnava planetarium F. Weiss, Scherffer’s introduction of Bošković served for Ignjat Martinović’s achievements in optics published in Lavov. Scherffer used Bošković’s mathematics textbook in teaching favoring it before others. He introduced Bošković’s mathematical results into his work especially Bošković’s conic theory. In the second edition of physics Scherffer widely uses not only Bošković’s theory but also a number of his scientific results published in numerous Bošković’s works. In astronomy too, Scherffer applied Bošković’s methods and results with emphasis on theoretical astronomy. An Austrian astronomer J. Paccassi having come across Scherffer’s textbook first learnt about Bošković’s method of determining comet paths and applied it in its calculation. Scherffer also used Bošković’s results in his work on mechanics and as we see there was nothing he did without Bošković’s assistance. In 1763 Scherffer’s textbook on physics became compulsory at the Trnava University and that was how Bošković’s ideas and results spread throughout Slovakia and Hungary. It especially goes for physicist Antun Radić who at the time worked in Trnava and wrote a separate work on Bošković’s theory. All in all, Scherffer greatly contributed in spreading Bošković’s scientific results in the countries of Austro-Hungarian monarchy.


Karl Scherffer, Ruđer Bošković, science

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