Early Slovenian scientists of worldwide reputation

National and University Library of Slovenia

Treasures of the National and University Library of Slovenia

Every nation demonstrates and confirms its originality and vitality with cultural and artistic achievements, also providing its creativity in all fields of science and technology. Early Slovenian science reveals an image essentially brighter than that provided by our general history. Although this exhibition may highlight only a narrow selection of the most distinguished men of global reputation from the 16th to the end of 19th century, each furthermore represented by only one book, even such a selection provides the basis for a realistic notion of a big and strong tree Slovenians grew in Europe in the field of science. 

Hvale, Matija: Commentarii in parvulum philosophiae naturalis, 1513

Professor of logic at Vienna University. His principal work was devoted to the philosophy of nature and is based on Aristotle. This book also features the earliest anatomic image of a human head and thorax.

Kuripečič, Benedikt: Itinerarium Wegrayss Kü. May potschafft, gen. Constantinopel, zu dem Türckischen kayser Soleyman..., 1531

The diary of the representative of the Austrian emperor at the Turkish court. the first work bringing reliable data on Turkish lands.

Kuripečič's diary is the first work bringing reliable data on Turkish lands.

Herberstein, Žiga: Rerum Moscoviticarum commentarii, 1549

A well-known diplomat, travelogue author and cartographer from Vipava. This work was published at least 20 times (first in 1549) in Latin, German, Italian, Czech, Russian and Slovenian.

Herberstein gave a very credible description of Russia, the least known part of Europe at the time, including some good geographic maps.

Perlah, Andrej: Ephemerides Andreae Perlachii Stiri pro anno MDXXXI ...1530

The author was a well-known mathematician, astronomer and medical doctor, professor, dean and rector of Vienna University, constructor of astronomical instruments and author of books on astronomy.

Perlah, Andrej: Ephemerides Andreae Perlachii Stiri pro anno MDXXXI..., 1530

Pegius, Martin: Einstandtrecht, 1567

A renowned lawyer and astrologer, the solicitor of the Salzburg archbishop office. He published several books on law, which were reprinted until the 18th century.

Rain, Janez Friderik: Praeservativum universale naturale, 1680

An alchemist and seeker for the philosopher's stone, a forerunner of chemistry. The book is dedicated to Emperor Leopold I., the plate cover made by Valvasor's copperplate engraver Mungersdorf.

Valvasor, Janez Vajkard: Die Ehre dess Hertzogthums Crain,1689

The Glory of the Duchy Carniola is our most comprehensive book (3532 pages) and of the best of its kind in Europe. With 528 illustrations it is one of the main sources on older Slovenian history and a detailed description of the Carniola region at the time.

Valvasor was a polymath, mostly historian and cartographer. A regular member of the Royal Academy in London.

Gerbec, Marko:Intricatum extricatum medicum, seu Tractatus de morbis complicatis…, 1692

The founder of scientific medical studies in Slovenia. An official land and monastery doctor in Stična and Bistra monasteries.

Gerbec was also a co-founder of Academia Operosorum (1693), our first academy of science.

Apes Academicae operosorum Labacensium, 1701

The escutcheon of the first Slovenian academy of sciences, founded in 1693. The bee is the symbol of diligence.

Steinberg, Franc Anton: Gründliche Nachricht von dem in dem Inner-Crain gelegenen Czirknitzer- See, 1758

Steinberg's physical model explains the activity of the disappearing Cerknica Lake, which had already become a European wonder because of Valvasor's description.

Steinberg, Franc Anton: Gründliche Nachricht von dem in dem Inner-Crain gelegenen Czirknitzer- See, 1758

Popovič, Žiga Valentin: Untersuchungen vom Meere, 1750

The founder of oceanography as a new science.

Scopoli, Giovanni Antonio: Flora carniolica, 1760

A seminal work on the plants of Slovenia, which enraptured European natural scientists, especially Carl Linne. It lists 1012 plant species.

Janša, Anton: Vollständige Lehre von der Bienenzucht, 1775

The best known European agriculturist. The imperial-royal teacher of apiculture in Vienna.

Hacquet, Balthasar: Oryctographia carniolica, oder Physikalische Erdbeschreibung des Herzogthums Krain, Istrien u. zum Theil der benachbarten Länder, 1778-1789

The comprehensive tetralogy is the best work of local history after that by Valvasor.

Vega, Jurij: Vollständige Sammlung grösserer logaritmisch-trigonometrischer Tafeln, 1794

The globally famous author of logarithm tables, which made a decisive contribution to faster progress right up until electronic computers. A ten-decimal logarithmic device.

Bibliothecae Sigismundi Liberi Baronis de Zois Catalogus, 1819

An entrepreneur and the spiritual leader of the Slovenian enlightenment cultural salon collected a valuable library of scientific and literary works, today kept in our library.

Linhart, Anton Tomaž: Versuch einer Geschichte von Krain..., 1786-91

The first Slovenian scientific history, in two parts. The manuscript includes two maps of the settlements of Slovenians on today's territory.

The original copper engraving of the map from Linhart's history book. It features the Carantanian territory, before the region was made part of the Carolingian Empire, and is the first description of the Slovenian nation as a unique branch of the Slavic tree, as well as probably the first example of the idea of a direct, unbroken link between the language of Carantania and modern Slovenian. The map Conspectus is also the first representation of Slovenian ethnic territory.

The language is Latin, with individual Slovenian names such as Lublana, Triglav, Bled, Radolza, Logatez etc.

Kopitar, Jernej: Grammatik der slavischen Sprache, 1808

The first scientific grammar book of the Slovenian language. Kopitar was ranked among the major Slavic linguists of the 19th century and worked as a court librarian in Vienna for many years.

Knoblehar, Ignacij: Potovanje po beli reki, 1850

The author was a missionary and explorer of Africa. An account of travelling down the Nile on the ship, Stella Matutina.

Baraga, Friderik: A theoretical and practical grammar of the Otchipwe language, 1850

The author was a missionary, an ethnologist and a linguist. He wrote the first studies on Indians and made the first grammar books and dictionaries of Indian languages.

Miklošič, Franc: Vergleichende Grammatik..., 1852-1875

A tetralogy on comparative grammar of Slavic languages. Miklošič was professor, dean and rector of Vienna University. The central personality of Slavic linguistics in the 19th century.

Štefan, Jožef:Über die beziehung zwischen der Wärmestralung und der temperatur..., 1879

Professor, dean and rector of Vienna University, a physicist of worldwide reputation who first calculated the temperature of the surface of the Sun.

Pregl, Friderik: Die quantitative organische Mikoranalyse, 1923

A native of Ljubljana, moved to Graz after matriculation from secondary school: he later became a professor and the rector of Graz University. Seminal work in the field of physiological chemistry. Pregl's discoveries brought about dramatic progress in the field of hormone and enzyme research. Nobel prize in 1923-

In 2013, the National and University Library acquired the personal archive of Anton Mavretič. Mavretič is a professor and researcher at the Centre for Space Physics at the Boston University, who was involved in the Voyager 1 and 2 projects.

Potočnik, Herman - Noordung:Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums. Der Raketen Motor, 1929

A famous rocket engineer and expert in space technology. His book is the foundation work of space technology: it is nowadays called "the incunabulum of space travel".

Credits: Story

From the book Treasures of the National and University Library Ljubljana.
Exhibition: Žiga Cerkvenik
Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica, 2017

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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