John Robert Christianson

On Tycho's island : Tycho Brahe and his assistants, 1570-1601

Cambridge university press

Cambridge, 2000
bibliothèque insulaire
parutions 2000
On Tycho's island : Tycho Brahe and his assistants, 1570-1601 / John Robert Christianson. - Cambridge : Cambridge university press, 2000. - XII-451 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN 0-521-65081-X
NOTE DE L'ÉDITEUR : Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), the premier patron-practitioner of science in sixteenth-century Europe, established a new role of scientist as administrator, active reformer, and natural philosopher. This book explores Brahe's wide range of activities which encompass much more than his reputed role of astronomer.

Christianson broadens this singular perspective by portraying Brahe as Platonic philosopher, Paracelsian chemist, Ovidian poet, and devoted family man.

From his private island in Denmark [Ven, or Hveen], Brahe used patronage, printing, friendship, and marriage to incorporate men and women skilled in science, technology, and the fine arts into his program of cosmic reform. This pioneering study includes capsule biographies of over 100 men and women, including Johannes Kepler, Willebrord Snel, Willem Blaeu, several bishops and numerous technical specialists all of whom helped shape the culture of the Scientific Revolution. Under Tycho Brahe's leadership, their teamwork achieved breakthroughs in astronomy, scientific method, and research organization that were essential to the birth of modern science.

t I. On Tycho's Island : Introduction
1. In King Frederick's service (1575-1576)
2. Junker and peasants (1576-1581)
3. Among friends (1570-1576)
4. Founding the familia (1576-1584)
5. Breakthrough (1584-1587)
6. The problem of continuity (1580-1591)
7. The school of Europe (1591-1593)
8. Magdalene and calumny (1593-1597)
9. The Tempest (1597)
10. Epilogue : in search of Maecenas (1597-1601)
11. Legacy

Part I
I. Tycho Brahe's coworkers

EXCERPT When Tycho heard that the king had arrived at Frederiksborg Castle, he hurried to meet him. There he renewed his service to King Frederick II of Denmark and Norway (…). As a token of his grace, the king immediately granted Tycho Brahe an annual pension of 500 dalers, which nearly doubled his yearly income. For his part, Tycho promised to be loyal and true and ready to serve the king according to his ability whenever the king had need of him and summoned him to court. These were the terms of his contract of service.

Four days after his royal audience at Fredericksborg Castle, Tycho Brahe was on the island of Hven. On the evening of 22 February 1576, he observed a conjunction of the moon and Mars near the head of Hydra. This was his first recorded observation from Hven.

Three months later, on 23 May 1576, King Frederick II granted to Tycho Brahe the whole island of Hven in fee, with all its resident peasants and servants of the crown and all royal incomes and rights, quit and free, « for the rest of his life and as long as he lives and desires to continue and pursue his mathematical studies », subject only to the laws of Denmark and Tycho's remaining loyal and true to his liege lord, the king. Since there was no royal manor on Hven, the king granted Tycho the sum of 400 dalers in cash to construct a suitable residence. At the age of twenty-nine, Tycho Brahe had finally become a royal Danish vassal and crown governor of Hven. The infrastructure for his life's work was in place.

In King Frederick's service (1575-1576), p. 24
  • Victor E. Thoren, « The lord of Uraniborg : a biography of Tycho Brahe » with contributions by John R. Christianson, Cambridge : Cambridge university press, 1990

mise-à-jour : 13 mars 2018