NESSELMANN, Georg Heinrich Ferdinand

NESSELMANN, Georg Heinrich Ferdinand. Fürstenau (now Kmiecin), Kr. Elbing 14.2.(or 24?)1811 — Königsberg 1.7.1881. German Indo-Iranian, Baltic and IE Linguist. Professor in Königsberg. Son of a minister, taught by father at home until 16, then at Elbing Gymnasium. From 1831 he studied mathematics at Königsberg and soon became interested in Oriental languages under v. Bohlen. Ph.D. 1837 Königsberg. From 1838 PD at Königsberg (succeeding v. Bohlen in teaching of Sanskrit). From 1843 ao. Professor and from 1859 ord. at Königsberg, taught there until death (when he was succeeded by Bezzenberger). Also taught Arabic. Married 1845, three children.

GHFN was interested in Sanskrit and New Persian, and in history of Oriental mathematics, but his main interest was always Baltic, especially Lithuanian and Old Prussian, where he did important pioneer work. He was also important in history of mathematics, as late as in 1886 Cantor deemed his Greek algebra as the best work on history of mathematics.

Publications: diss. De nominibus et verbis cum pronomine interrogativo compositis in lingua sanscrita usitatis. 27 p. Regim. 1838, in German: “Über die im Sanskrit üblichen Composita mit dem Fragepronomen”, ZKM 2, 1839, 93-106.

Die orientalischen Münzen des Akademischen Münzkabinets in Königsberg. 18+176 p. Lp. 1858 (Jewish, Islamic and Iranian coins).

translated: “Ambā, eine Episode aus dem Mahābhārata“, Altpreussische Monatsschrift 5, 1868, 385-418; Der Rosengarten des Scheikh Muslih-eddin Saʿdi aus Schiras. 8+312 p. B. 1864; Der Diwan Des Schems-Eddin Muhammed Hafis. 8+216 p. B. 1865.

Versuch einer kritischen Geschichte der Algebra. B. 1842; Essenz der Rechenkunst von Mah. Behaeddin ben Alhossain aus Amul, Arabisch und Deutsch. 78+58 p. B. 1843.

Die Sprache der alten Preussen. 36+160 p. B. 1845; Wörterbuch der Littauischen Sprache. 555 p. Königsberg 1851; Littauische Volkslieder. 15+368 p. B. 1853; Thesaurus linguae Prussicae. 6+222 p. B. 1873; etc.

Sources: Cantor, A.D.B. 23, 1886, 445f.; H. v. Glasenapp, Altpreuss. Biogr. 2:3, 1944, 459; Wikipedia (more in German).

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