NEUGEBAUER, Otto Eduard. Innsbruck 26.5.1899 — Princeton, N.J. 19.2.1990. Austrian Historian of Astronomy and Mathematics in the U.S.A. Son of Rudolph N., a railway engineer, lost early his parents. In 1917 he left Akad. Gymnasium, Graz, to join the army and thus obtained his matriculation without examination in classical languages in which the mathematically and technically minded youth was not at all interested. After one year as war prisoner in Italy (together with Ludwig Wittgenstein) he studied electrical engineering and physics at Graz in 1919-21 and at Munich 1921-22. Then studies of mathematics at Göttingen, learned Egyptian for his diss. there. Ph.D. 1926 Göttingen. In 1927-33 PD and Oberassistent at Math. Inst., then ao. Professor at Göttingen. Forced by the Nazis to leave Göttingen he emigrated to Denmark (in 1933-39 eo. Professor of Mathematics at Copenhagen) and later to the U.S.A. In 1939-49 Professor of Mathematics at Brown University, in 1949-69 Professor of History of Mathematics there. Married 1927 Grete Bruck.
Neugebauer did important work in mathematics in general, but his specialty was the history of ancient (classical and Near Eastern) mathematics and astronomy. In addition to Greek and Egyptian he learned Akkadian. Delving deep into original sources he was often capable of opening entirely new lines of understanding and made many pioneer finds. He made extensive study on the history of Oriental science, including Indian, partly in collaboration with his student D. Pingree.
Publications: Diss. Die Grundlagen der ägyptischen Buchrechnung. Göttingen 1926.
– Numerous articles on Near Eastern and classical mathematics and astronomy.
– The Exact Sciences in Antiquity. Acta Historica Scientiarum Natur. et Medic. 9. Copenhagen 1951.
– Astronomical Cuneiform Texts. 1-3. L. 1955.
– Edited with D. Pingree: Varāhamihira: Pañcasiddhāntikā. 1-2. 206+154 p. 68 fig. 36 tables. Kong. Danske Vid. Selsk. Skrifter 6. København 1970-71.
– History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy. 1-3. Studies in the Hist. of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences 1. Heidelberg & N.Y. 1975.
– Astronomy and History: Selected Essays. Heidelberg & N.Y. 1983.
Sources: P. T. Keyser in Briggs (ed.), Biogr. Dict. of N. Am. Class. 1994, 439-444; *Wikipedia.
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