57 Facts About Athanasius Kircher


Athanasius Kircher claimed to have deciphered the hieroglyphic writing of the ancient Egyptian language, but most of his assumptions and translations in the field turned out to be wrong.


Athanasius Kircher did correctly establish the link between the ancient Egyptian and the Coptic languages, and some commentators regard him as the founder of Egyptology.


Athanasius Kircher was fascinated with Sinology and wrote an encyclopedia of China, where he revealed the early presence of Nestorian Christians while attempting to establish links with Egypt and Christianity.


One of the first researchers to observe microbes through a microscope, Athanasius Kircher was ahead of his time in proposing that the plague was caused by an infectious microorganism and in suggesting effective measures to prevent its spread.


Athanasius Kircher displayed a keen interest in technology and mechanical inventions; inventions attributed to him include a magnetic clock, various automatons and the first megaphone.


Athanasius Kircher attended the Jesuit College in Fulda from 1614 to 1618, when he entered the novitiate of the Society.


The youngest of nine children, Athanasius Kircher studied volcanoes owing to his passion for rocks and eruptions.

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Athanasius Kircher was taught Hebrew by a rabbi in addition to his studies at school.


Athanasius Kircher studied philosophy and theology at Paderborn, but fled to Cologne in 1622 to escape advancing Protestant forces.


From 1622 to 1624 Athanasius Kircher was sent to begin his regency period in Koblenz as a teacher.


Athanasius Kircher was ordained to the priesthood in 1628 and became professor of ethics and mathematics at the University of Wurzburg, where he taught Hebrew and Syriac.


In 1631, while still at Wurzburg, Athanasius Kircher allegedly had a prophetic vision of bright light and armed men with horses in the city.


Wurzburg was attacked shortly afterwards and captured, leading to Athanasius Kircher being accorded respect for predicting the disaster via astrology, though Athanasius Kircher privately insisted that he had not relied on it.


Athanasius Kircher based himself in the city for the rest of his life, and from 1634 he taught mathematics, physics and Oriental languages at the Collegio Romano for several years before being released to devote himself to research.


Athanasius Kircher studied malaria and the plague, amassing a collection of antiquities, which he exhibited along with devices of his own creation in the Museum Kircherianum.


In 1661, Athanasius Kircher discovered the ruins of a church said to have been constructed by Constantine on the site of Saint Eustace's vision of a crucifix in a stag's horns.


Athanasius Kircher raised money to pay for the church's reconstruction as the Santuario della Mentorella, and his heart was buried in the church upon his death.


Athanasius Kircher published a many substantial books on a wide variety of subjects such as Egyptology, geology, and music theory.


Athanasius Kircher's books, written in Latin, were widely circulated in the 17th century, and contributed to the wide dissemination of scientific information.


Athanasius Kircher was the most famous of the "decipherers" between ancient and modern times and the most famous Egyptologist of his day.


Athanasius Kircher then broke with Horapollon's interpretation of hieroglyphs with his Lingua aegyptiaca restituta.


Athanasius Kircher argued that Coptic preserved the last development of ancient Egyptian.


Athanasius Kircher recognized the relationship between hieratic and hieroglyphic scripts.


Between 1650 and 1654, Athanasius Kircher published four volumes of "translations" of hieroglyphs in the context of his Coptic studies.


Athanasius Kircher was actively involved in the erection of the Pamphilj obelisk, and added "hieroglyphs" of his design in the blank areas.

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Rowland 2002 concluded that Athanasius Kircher made use of Pythagorean principles to read hieroglyphs of the Pamphili Obelisk, and used the same form of interpretation when reading scripture.


Athanasius Kircher had an early interest in China, telling his superior in 1629 that he wished to become a missionary to that country.


Athanasius Kircher analyzed the dimensions of the Ark; based on the number of species known to him, he calculated that overcrowding would not have been a problem.


Athanasius Kircher discussed the logistics of the Ark voyage, speculating on whether extra livestock was brought to feed carnivores and what the daily schedule of feeding and caring for animals must have been.


Athanasius Kircher was sent the Voynich Manuscript in 1666 by Johannes Marcus Marci in the hope of Athanasius Kircher being able to decipher it.


Athanasius Kircher was intrigued by the subterranean rumbling which he heard at the Strait of Messina.


Athanasius Kircher understood that fossils were the remains of animals.


Athanasius Kircher ascribed large bones to giant races of humans.


Athanasius Kircher interpreted mountain ranges as the Earth's skeletal structures exposed by weathering.


Athanasius Kircher wrote that many species were hybrids of other species, for example, armadillos from a combination of turtles and porcupines.


Athanasius Kircher took a modern approach to the study of diseases as early as 1646 by using a microscope to investigate the blood of plague victims.


Athanasius Kircher proposed hygienic measures to prevent the spread of disease, such as isolation, quarantine, burning clothes worn by the infected and wearing facemasks to prevent the inhalation of germs.


In 1646, Athanasius Kircher published Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae, concerning the display of images on a screen using an apparatus similar to the magic lantern developed by Christiaan Huygens and others.


Athanasius Kircher described the construction of a "catoptric lamp" that used reflection to project images on the wall of a darkened room.


Athanasius Kircher stressed that exhibitors should take great care to inform spectators that such images were purely naturalistic, and not magical.


Athanasius Kircher constructed a magnetic clock, which he explained in his Magnes.


Athanasius Kircher's model disproved that hypothesis, showing that the motion could be produced by a water clock in the base of the device.


In Phonurgia Nova Athanasius Kircher considered the possibilities of transmitting music to remote places.


The Katzenklavier would have driven spikes into the tails of cats, which would yowl to specified pitches, although Athanasius Kircher is not known to have constructed the instrument.


In Phonurgia Nova, literally "new methods of sound production", Athanasius Kircher examined acoustic phenomena.

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Athanasius Kircher explored the use of horns and cones in amplifying sound for architectural applications.


Athanasius Kircher examined echoes in rooms using domes of different shapes, including the muffling effect of an elliptical dome from Heidelberg.


Athanasius Kircher employed combinatorics in his Arca Musarithmica, an aleatoric music device capable of composing millions of church hymns by combining randomly selected musical phrases.


For most of his professional life, Athanasius Kircher was one of the scientific stars of his world: according to historian Paula Findlen, he was "the first scholar with a global reputation".


Athanasius Kircher's importance was twofold: to the results of his own experiments and research he added information gleaned from his correspondence with over 760 scientists, physicians and above all his fellow Jesuits in all parts of the globe.


Athanasius Kircher's works, illustrated to his orders, were extremely popular, and he was the first scientist to be able to support himself through the sale of his books.


Historian Anthony Grafton has said that "the staggeringly strange dark continent of Athanasius Kircher's work [is] the setting for a Borges story that was never written", while Umberto Eco has written about Athanasius Kircher in his novel The Island of the Day Before, as well as in his non-fiction works The Search for the Perfect Language and Serendipities.


The contemporary artist Cybele Varela has paid tribute to Kircher in her exhibition Ad Sidera per Athanasius Kircher, held in the Collegio Romano, in the same place where the Museum Kircherianum was.


Athanasius Kircher is mentioned in The Book of Life, the third book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.


Athanasius Kircher further appears in two separate episodes in Daniel Kehlmann's novel Tyll.


The permanent exhibition The World Is Bound with Secret Knots at the Museum of Jurassic Technology is based on the life and work of Athanasius Kircher and uses elaborate 3D technology to highlight the magical quality of many of his ideas and images.


Athanasius Kircher is a character in the "Ring of Fire" alternate history series.