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Kircher, Athanasius (c.1602-1680).

Ars magna lucis et umbrae

Romae : Sumptibus Hermanni Scheus, ex typographia Ludouici Grignani, 1646.

"In Ars magna lucis et umbrae, Kircher applied "magna" to "magnes" of his first work. He argued that light-the "attracting magnes of all things" and connected with the heavens by an unknown chain-behaves exactly like the magnes. He discussed the projecting of sunlight or candlelight on plane mirrors, which were painted with colored pictures, or through an illustrated glass sphere. Only Thomas Rasmussen Walgensten succeeded in uniting this principle of projecting translucent pictures by rays having a pointlike source with G. Porta's projection through a hole, to the true magic lantern. Exploring the myth of Archimedes' burning mirrors, Kircher stated that the more times light is reflected between several plane mirrors, the more burning power the rays will obtain. He thus supported the story of Archimedes' purported device.

Some forty-four books and more than 2,000 extant letters and manuscripts attest to the extraordinary variety of Kircher's interests and to his intellectual endowments. His studies covered practically all fields both in the humanities and the sciences. This in harmony with the style of the period, in which polymathy was highly praised. A tendency to deal with curious questions led him to study orientology, including the culture of the Far East" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography).

"Jesuit priest and a scientist from Geissen in Germany. In 1635 he was made professor of mathematics at the Collegium Romanum in Rome by Pope Urban VI. He was the earliest to attempt to view microscopic organisms in 1658, using a primitive microscope which he constructed." (Dictionary of the History of Medcine, p. 445).

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