Authorised form of nameMercator; Nicolas (c 1620 - 1687); mathematician and astronomer
Other forms of nameNicolaus
Kauffman, Nicolaus
Kauffman, Niklaus
Datesc 1620 - 1687
Place of birthEutin, Duchy of Holstein [modern day Germany], Europe
Date of birthc 1620
Place of deathVersailles, France, Europe
Research fieldMathematics
University of Rostock (Mag Phil 1641); University of Leyden
Lived in the Netherlands (1642-1648); lectured at the University of Copenhagen (1648-1654); lived in Paris (1655-1657); Mathematics tutor to Joscelyne Percy, son of the 10th Earl of Northumberland, at Petworth, Sussex (1657); taught mathematics in London (1658-1682); designed a marine chronometer for Charles II; designed and constructed the fountains at Versailles (1682-1687)
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election14/11/1666
ProposerSir Robert Moray
Other Royal Society activityPublished in the 'Philosophical Transactions' on the theory of map projection (1666)
RelationshipsParents: Martin Kauffman and Hedwig Kauffman
Children: David Mercator
Published worksRCN: 41961
RCN: 38533
General contextWhile studying at Leyden, Mercator became acquainted with fellow mathematician John Pell (FRS 1663). He was also in regular correspondence with polymath Samuel Hartlib. Shortly before his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society, he constructed and presented a marine timekeeper to Charles II. He wrote and published a series of university textbooks on astronomy, geography, and logarithms, for example. His most important work is considered to be 'Logarithmotechnica' (1667), the first book to publish a function in the form of an infinite series.
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Bulloch's Roll; DNB (MP); DSB; Aubrey; Hunter
First Altname from DNB (MP), second from Hunter, third from DSB
Wilbur Applebaum, 'A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts of Nicolaus Mercator, FRS (1620-87), in Sheffield University Library' in NR 1986-87 vol 41 pp 27-37
G H Turnbull, 'Samuel Hartlib's Influence on the Early History of the Royal Society' in NR 1953 vol 10 pp 101-130
DSB gives birth date as c 1619. Possible death date of January 1687. Alternate place of birth also Cismar in modern-day Germany. Original nationality uncertain: possibly German or Dutch. Hunter has his nationality as British until he moved to France in 1683.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA7751
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
RBO/7/101Five propositions concerning the quadrature of the circle by Nicholas Mercator1 March 1685
CLP/8i/21/9Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/7Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/10Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/20aPaper, extract concerning the orbits of the planets by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/20a/2Diagram, elliptical orbit of planets by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/20a/1Manuscript, extract concerning the orbits of the planets by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/5Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/6Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/4Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/3Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/1Manuscript, 'Hypothesis astronomica nova' [New astronomical hypothesis] by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/8Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/11Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/2Diagram, elliptical orbit of planets and table by Nicolas Mercator1664
EL/M1/53Nicholas Mercator to Henry Oldenburg16 July 1668
CLP/8i/21Paper, 'Hypothesis astronomica nova' [New astronomical hypothesis] by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/8i/21/12Diagram, astronomical table by Nicolas Mercator1664
CLP/24/2Paper, 'Vera circuli et hyperbolae quadratura in propria sua proportionis specie inventa et demonstrata [The true way to make the circle and hyperbola square according to their proper proportion, discovered and demonstrated]' by James Gregoryc. 17th century
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