Simon Marius from Gunzenhausen, the Ansbach Court Astronomer, discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter one day later than Galileo Galilei in 1610, published his book Mundus Iovialis in 1614, excactly 400 years ago. Accused by Galilei of plagiarism, his reputation suffered permanent damage, in spite of proof brought to light at the beginning of the 20th century that Marius’ research had been entirely his own.
There is a good internet presence intended to be a guide through the anniversary year of 2014 and will bring together electronically retrievable sources, secondary literature, lectures and news on Simon Marius and – whenever possible – provide convenient links.
In my last post I commented on the priority disputes that Galileo carried out with other users of the telescope in the early years of telescopic astronomy. Some of his most vitriolic comments were launched from the pages of his polemical pamphlet The Assayer against the Franconian astronomer Simon Marius, who was born on 10th January 1573, for daring to claim in his Mundus Jovialis published in 1614 that he and not Galileo had first discovered the moons of Jupiter. This was provocation beyond all measure as the discovery of the Jupiter moons was by far and away the greatest of Galileo’s scientific triumphs.
Born Simon Mayr (Mayer in its almost endless orthographic variations, ask PZ, is the most common family name in the German Language) in the then village of Gunzenhausen (it’s now a town) about 60 kilometres south of Nürnberg, Marius the son of a barrel maker…
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