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Joseph Stepling, S.J.
(1716 - 1778)
symbolic logic and his research academy

Joseph Stepling, S.J.

Joseph Stepling, S.J. was born in Regensburg, Germany and died in Prague, Bohemia [now Czechoslovakia]. His fields included astronomy, physics and mathematics. At the age of 17 he documented with great accuracy the 1733 lunar eclipse. Later Euler was among his long list of correspondents. He transposed Aristotelian logic into formulas, thus becoming an early precursor of modern logic. already adopted the atomistic conception of matter he radically refused to accept Aristotelian metaphysics and natural philosophy. In 1748, at the request of the Berlin Academy, he carried out an exact observation of a solar and lunar eclipse in order to determine the precise location of Prague. During Stepling's long tenure at Prague, he set up a laboratory for experimental physics and in 1751 built an observatory, the instruments and fittings of which he brought up to the latest scientific standard.
v Even though he passed up a professorship in philosophy in favor of a chair in mathematics, Empress Maria Theresa appointed him director of the faculty of philosophy at Prague as part of the reform of higher education. He was very interested in cultivating the exact sciences and founded a society for the study of science modeled on the Royal Society of London. In their monthly sessions. over which he presided until his death, the group carried out research work and investigations in the field of pure mathematics and its appiication to physics and astronomy. A great number of treatises of this academy were published.

Stepling corresponded with the outstanding contemporary mathematicians and astronomers: Christian Wolf. Leonhard Euler. Christopher Maire, Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille, Maximilian Heli, Joseph Franz, Rudjer Boskovic, Heinrich Hiss, and others. Also, Stepling was particularly successful in educating many outstanding scientists, including Johann Wendlingen, Jakob Heinisch, Johannes von Herberstein, Kaspar Sagner, Stephan Schmidt, Johann Korber, and Joseph Bergmann. After his death, Maria Theresia ordered a monument erected in the library of the University of Prague.


Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu ( AHSI ) Rome: Institutum Historicum
Bangert, William A History of the Society of Jesus. St. Louis: St. Louis Institute, 1972uis, 1810
Gillispie, Charles. C. ed., Dictionary of Scientific biography. 16 vols. New York: Charles Scribner and Sons, 1970
Ludwig Koch, S.J., Jesuitenlexikon (Paderborn, 1934), cols. 1692- 1693
{Reference to him in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography is found in v 13 p29-30.}
Oldenburg, Henry ed. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. vols. 1-30. London: 1665-1715
Reilly, Conor "A catalogue of Jesuitica in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London" in A.H.S.I. vol. 27,1958, p. 339-362
Sommervogel, Carolus Bibliothèque de la compagnie de Jésus. 12 volumes. Bruxelles: Société Belge de Libraire, 1890-1960
{Two entries are found in Sommervogel; an example is the following:
Ezechielis explicatio (Rome, 1596-1604)}

Adventures of Some Early Jesuit Scientists

José de Acosta, S.J. - 1600: Pioneer of the Geophysical Sciences
François De Aguilon, S.J. - 1617: and his Six books on Optics
Roger Joseph Boscovich, S.J. - 1787: and his atomic theory
Christopher Clavius, S.J. - 1612: and his Gregorian Calendar
Honoré Fabri, S.J. - 1688: and his post-calculus geometry
Francesco M. Grimaldi, S.J. - 1663: and his diffraction of light
Paul Guldin, S.J. - 1643: applications of Guldin's Rule
Maximilian Hell, S.J. - 1792: and his Mesmerizing encounters
Athanasius Kircher, S.J. - 1680: The Master of a Hundred Arts
Francesco Lana-Terzi, S.J. - 1687: The Father of Aeronautics
Francis Line, S.J. - 1654: the hunted and elusive clock maker
Juan Molina, S.J. - 1829: The First Scientist of Chile
Jerôme Nadal, S.J. -1580: perspective art and composition of place
Ignace Pardies, S.J. - 1673: and his influence on Newton
Andrea Pozzo, S.J. - 1709: and his perspective geometry
Vincent Riccati, S.J. - 1775: and his hyperbolic functions
Matteo Ricci, S.J. - 1610: who brought scientific innovations to China
John Baptist Riccioli, S.J. - 167I: and his long-lived selenograph
Girolamo Saccheri, S.J. - 1733: and his solution to Euclid's blemish
Theorems of Saccheri, S.J. - 1733: and his non Euclidean Geometry
Christopher Scheiner, S.J. - 1650: sunspots and his equatorial mount
Gaspar Schott, S.J. - 1666: and the experiment at Magdeburg
Angelo Secchi, S.J. - 1878: the Father of Astrophysics
Joseph Stepling, S.J. - 1650: symbolic logic and his research academy
André Tacquet, S.J. - 1660: and his treatment of infinitesimals
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S. J. - 1955: and The Phenomenon of man
Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J. - 1688: an influential Jesuit scientist in China
Juan Bautista Villalpando, S.J. - 1608: and his version of Solomon's Temple
Gregory Saint Vincent, S.J. - 1667: and his polar coordinates
Nicolas Zucchi, S.J. - 1670: the renowned telescope maker

Influence of Some Early Jesuit Scientists

The 35 lunar craters named to honor Jesuit Scientists: their location and description
Post-Pombal Portugal opinion of Pre-Pombal Jesuit Scientists: a recent conference
Seismology, The Jesuit Science. a Jesuit history of geophysics

Another menu of Jesuit Interest

Jesuit history, tradition and spirituality

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