Shining a Spotlight on Slovenian Scientists in History

Treasures of the National and University Library of Slovenia and extraordinary minds of their Authors.

Oryctography of Carniola (1778/1789) by Balthasar HacquetNational and University Library of Slovenia

Embodied creativity

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. 

On the Origins of the Philosophy of Nature (Commentarii in parvulum philosophiae naturalis) (1513) by Matija HvaleNational and University Library of Slovenia

Matija Hvale was a 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.

Itinerary of the travel to the Royal Mayor of Constantinople and the Turkish Emperor Suleiman (1531) by Benedikt KuripečičNational and University Library of Slovenia

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.

Notes on Muscovite Affairs (1549) by Žiga HerbersteinNational and University Library of Slovenia

Žiga Herberstein was 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.

Ephemerides by Andrej Perlah from year MDXXX (1530) by Andrej PerlahNational and University Library of Slovenia

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.

Ephemerides by Andrej Perlah from year MDXXX (1530) by Andrej PerlahNational and University Library of Slovenia

Pre-emptive Right (1567) by Martin PegiusNational and University Library of Slovenia

Martin Pegius was 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.

Preservation of Universal Nature (1680) by Janez Friderik RainNational and University Library of Slovenia

Janez Friderik Rain was 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.

The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Die Ehre dess Hertzogthums Crain / Slava vojvodine Kranjske) (1689) by Janez Vajkard ValvasorNational and University Library of Slovenia

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.

The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Die Ehre dess Hertzogthums Crain / Slava vojvodine Kranjske) (1689) by Janez Vajkard ValvasorNational and University Library of Slovenia

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

Treatise Intricatum extricatum medicum (1692) by Marko GerbecNational and University Library of Slovenia

Marko Gerbec was the official land and monastery doctor in Stična and Bistra monasteries and the founder of scientific medical studies in Slovenia.

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

The escutcheon of the Academicae operosorum Labacensium (1701)National and University Library of Slovenia

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

Thorough Report of the Lake Cerknica located in the Inner-Carniola (1758) by Franc Anton SteinbergNational and University Library of Slovenia

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

Thorough Report of the Lake Cerknica located in the Inner-Carniola (1758) by Franc Anton SteinbergNational and University Library of Slovenia

Investigations of the Sea (1750) by Žiga Valentin PopovičNational and University Library of Slovenia

Žiga Valentin Popovič is considered to be the founder of oceanography as a separate science.

Flora of Carniola (1760) by Giovanni Antonio ScopoliNational and University Library of Slovenia

Flora carniolica by Giovanni Antonio Scopoli is a seminal work on the plants of Slovenia, which enraptured European natural scientists, especially Carl Linne. It lists 1012 plant species.

Complete Lectures about Beekeeping (1775) by Anton JanšaNational and University Library of Slovenia

Anton Janša is probably the best known European apiculturist. He was the imperial-royal teacher of apiculture in Vienna.

Oryctography of Carniola (1778/1789) by Balthasar HacquetNational and University Library of Slovenia

Hacquet's comprehensive tetralogy is the best work of local history after that by Valvasor.

Complete collection of larger logarithmic-trigonometric tables, Jurij Vega, 1794, From the collection of: National and University Library of Slovenia
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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.

The library of baron Žiga Zois (1819) by Žiga ZoisNational and University Library of Slovenia

Žiga Zois was an entrepreneur and the spiritual leader of the Slovenian enlightenment cultural salon, who collected a valuable library with more than 4000 scientific and literary works.

The History of Carniola (1786/1791) by Anton Tomaž LinhartNational and University Library of Slovenia

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

The History of Carniola (1786/1791) by Anton Tomaž LinhartNational and University Library of Slovenia

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 History of Carniola (1786/1791) by Anton Tomaž LinhartNational and University Library of Slovenia

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

Grammar of the Slovenian Language (1808) by Jernej KopitarNational and University Library of Slovenia

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

Travels down the White River, Ignacij Knoblehar, 1850, From the collection of: National and University Library of Slovenia
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Ignacij Knoblehar was a missionary and explorer of Africa. An account of travelling down the Nile on the ship, Stella Matutina.

A theoretical and practical grammar of the Otchipwe language, Friderik Baraga, 1850, From the collection of: National and University Library of Slovenia
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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.

Comparative Grammar of Slavic Languages (1852/1875) by Franc MiklošičNational and University Library of Slovenia

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.

On the relation between the heat radiation and the temperature, Jožef Štefan, 1879, From the collection of: National and University Library of Slovenia
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Jožef Štefan was a professor, dean and rector of Vienna University, a physicist of worldwide reputation who first calculated the temperature of the surface of the Sun.

Quantitative Organic Microanalysis, Friderik Pregl, 1923, From the collection of: National and University Library of Slovenia
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Friderik Pregl moved to Graz after matriculation from secondary school and 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-

Personal archive of Anton Mavretič, Anton Mavretič, 2013, From the collection of: National and University Library of Slovenia
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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.

The Problem of Space Travel - The Rocket Motor (1929) by Herman Potočnik - NoordungNational and University Library of Slovenia

Herman Potočnik - Noordung was a famous rocket engineer and an 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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