Tremellius and Naibod

God Plays Dice has a post that answers a question I’ve long had about the Mathematics Geneology Project: just how far back can you go? The answer is 1572, when Immanuel Tremellius and Valentine Naibod advised Rudolph Snellius. Snellius was the father of Willebrord Snellius, who discovered Snell’s law.

Tremellius was a Bible translator who was briefly jailed for being a Calvinist. It sounds like he was forced to move frequently as the prevailing winds for Protestants changed. (This was the early Reformation.) Naibod was an astrologer who had a book banned by the Catholic Church. An astrological prediction told him that his life was in danger, so he tried holing up in his house until the danger passed. Since the house showed no external signs of life, thieves thought the house was abandoned and broke in. Discovering Naibod, they murdered him. Apparently astrology works after all.

The Geneology Project has a page dedicated to what it calls extrema. I would support a campaign to rename the Guinness Book of World Records the Guinness Book of Extrema.

Update. In between when I hit “Post” and now, the Mathematical Geneology site updated their database, making this post completely obsolete.

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