Franz Ulrich Theodosius Aepinus

Born: 13 Dec 1724 in Rostock, Mecklenberg-Schwerin (now Germany)
Died: 10 Aug 1802 in Dorpat, Russia

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Aepinus's dissertation at Jena was on the paths of falling bodies, then he taught mathematics at Rostock. In 1755 he became director of the Observatory in Berlin and in the following year he accepted a chair at St Petersburg which he held until he retired in 1798.

Aepinus published on algebraic equations, integration of partial differential equations and the concept of negative numbers. He began to study electricity and magnetism, his book An Attempt at a Theory of Electricity and Magnetism (1759) being the first work to apply mathematics to the theory of electricity and magnetism.

Other achievements of Aepinus include improvements to the microscope, and his demonstration of the effects of parallax in the transit of a planet across the Sun's disk (1764).

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JOC/EFR December 1996