Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel


Famous scholars from Kiel:

Samuel Reyher


Samuel Reyher was the first representative of Mathematics at the Christiana Albertina and taught in Kiel from 1665, when the university was founded, until 1714.


He was born on 19 April 1635 in Schleusingen (Thuringia), the son of the school principal, Andreas Reyher. After attending grammar school in Gotha he studied Philosophy, Mathematics and Law as from 1654. In 1655 he became Baccalaureate, and Master of Arts in 1656. He made numerous trips through Holland and went to Leyden for further studies in Mathematics and Jurisprudence, but also in Oriental Languages. It was there that he earned his doctorate with his thesis “De jure primogeni(t)orum”. In 1665 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the newly founded University of Kiel.

In addition, he became associate Professor of Law in 1673, full Professor of the Institutions in 1683 and full Professor of the Codex in 1692. Reyher was elected Vice Principal of the Christiana Albertina nine times. In 1686 the duke of Gotha named him a member of the Saxon Board. He was an external member of the Berlin Association of Sciences and had regular correspondence with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. In 1712 he was partially released from his duties, but he continued to hold lectures and passed away in Kiel on 22 November 1714.

Reyher was a polymath of baroque character, who left behind complex pieces of work. He donated numerous manuscripts to the studies of Law and Universal History. As a natural scientist, he dealt with astronomical, meteorological and oceanographic experiments, among others; he established an observatory and constructed a Camera Obscura. He became well-known as a specialist in military architecture.

In "Mathematicarum disciplinarum sciagraphica generalis" (1692), Rehyer differentiated between higher and lower Mathematics. He considered cosmography, astronomy, astrology, chronology and geography as higher Mathematics, and geodesy, mechanics, acoustics and optics, hydraulics, pneumatics, pyrotechnics as well as military architecture and tactics as lower Mathematics. Elementary algebra and geometry were counted in both disciplines as mathesis pura.

His paper on "Mathesis Mosaica sive Loca Pentateuchi Mathematica mathematice explicata, cum Appendice aliorum S. Script. Locorum Mathematicorum" (1679) is a very speculative piece with 808 pages on Mathematics (in Reyher’s understanding) and its usus in theologia. In 1697 the first edition of his German editorial appeared, of the first six books of the "elements" of Euclid.


Prof. Karsten Johnsen

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