Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (1758–1840)


    ON March 2 a century ago, the city of Bremen lost its most distinguished citizen, the physician and astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers, who died at the age of eighty-one years, after a life of unremitting industry. He was born on October 11, 1758, at the village of Arbergen, near Bremen, where his father was pastor, and from his boyhood he was an enthusiastic student of science. When nineteen he became a medical student at Göttingen and at twenty-three set up in practice in Bremen. A conscientious practitioner, he served his fellow-citizens in many ways, and after his death his statue was erected in the city. His astronomical work was done in the upper part of his house in the Sandgasse, which was fitted up to afford a view of the greater part of the sky. His instruments included a 5-ft. Dollond refractor of 3¾-in. aperture, a 5-ft. reflector by Schröter, a quadrant by Bird and a Troughton sextant. It is said that he never slept more than four hours at a time.

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    Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (1758–1840). Nature 145, 341–342 (1940). https://doi.org/10.1038/145341c0

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