Wenceslas Pantaleon Kirwitzer

Wenceslas Pantaleon Kirwitzer

Wenceslas Pantaleon Kirwitzer

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Wenceslas Pantaleon Kirwitzer (1588, Kadaň – 1626, Macau) was an astronomer and a Jesuit missionary.


Kirwitzer was born in Kadaň (Germ. Kaaden), Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic) to a protestant family descended from the village of Krbice (Germ. Kürbitz) so his surname was derived from "Kürbitzer". He converted to Catholicism as a youth and started studying Jesuit Academy in Olomouc (after Charles University in Prague the second oldest university in the Czech lands established by Bishop Vilém Prusinovský z Víckova). He attracted attention of his professors for his talent especially for natural science. In 1606 he became a novice at Jesuits in Brno. After a short time he was called up to Rome to be embodied in the Collegium Romanum. He was a member of this College in the time when Galileo Galilei was in Rome (1611) to state his case in the question of Heliocentric and Ptolemaic systems. The Roman College was then open to the Copernican opinion held by Galileo. After a short career as a Professor of Mathematics in Graz Kirwitzer leaves with other 17 brothers for China as a missionary. Their ship San Carlos arrived in Goa, India, in 1618. After several years in Goa he moved to Macau where he died on May 22, 1626. He didn't stop being interested in astronomy, he kept in touch with Johann Adam Schall von Bell, a German Jesuit that was preparing the reform of the Chinese calendar and later became president of the Astronomical Office in......
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