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. 2008;(49):305-26.

[In Search of New Paths. The Self Image of the Leopoldina and the Royal Society in London in Its Correspondence 1670-1677]

[Article in German]
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  • PMID: 20617620

[In Search of New Paths. The Self Image of the Leopoldina and the Royal Society in London in Its Correspondence 1670-1677]

[Article in German]
Philip Beeley et al. Acta Hist Leopoldina. .

Abstract

The article investigates the correspondence between members of the Academia Naturae Curiosorum and Henry Oldenburg, the secretary of the Royal Society, from 1670 until his death in 1677. In these years Oldenburg, originally a citizen of Bremen, continued to give support to fellow-countrymen such as Major and Sachs von Lewenhaimb whenever he could. But in contrast to the first ten years of the Royal Society, in which Oldenburg had often stressed differences in the character of the two scientific institutions, the future Leopoldina was able to establish a position of almost equal footing from 1670 onwards through its journal the Miscellanea curiosa medico-physica Academiae Naturae Curiosorum. This new self-confidence is reflected in the correspondence between Oldenburg and members of the first German academy. Alongside discussions on curiosities and monstrosities as well as on the topic of artificial gold, the discovery of phosphorus is a major theme of the correspondence in these later years. Oldenburg immediately recognized the importance of this German discovery and thereafter sought to obtain a sample of the substance for display to the Royal Society in London. His efforts were however fraught by various difficulties. Admittedly, Balduin early on sent a sample of his phosphorus to London, but it ultimately turned out not to be genuine. In the meantime Kunckel pretended to be the discoverer of the true phosphorus which he had seen when visiting Brand in Hamburg. When, in September 1677, Crafft eventually arrived in London with a sample of Brand's phosphorus Oldenburg had died tragically just a few days beforehand.

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