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Nicolaus Steno

Nicolaus StenoAKA Niels Stensen

Born: 10-Jan-1631
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: 25-Nov-1686
Location of death: Schwerin, Mecklenburg, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Geologist

Nationality: Denmark
Executive summary: De solido intra solidum

Danish naturalist, born at Copenhagen in 1631, and studied medicine and anatomy in that city and in Paris. He discovered the parotid salivary duct, sometimes called "Stensen's duct." After a period of travel he settled in Italy (1666) at first as professor of anatomy at Padua, and then in Florence as house physician to the grand-duke Ferdinand II of Tuscany. He returned to his native city in 1672 to become professor of anatomy, but, having become a Roman Catholic, he found it expedient to return to Florence, and was ultimately made apostolic vicar of Lower Saxony. He died at Schwerin in Mecklenburg, on the 25th of November 1686. His fame rests on De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento, published at Florence in 1669. In this notable work Steno described various gems, minerals and petrifactions (fossils) enclosed within solid rocks. He compared the fossil with the living organisms, and distinguished marine and fluviatile formations. He argued also in favor of the original horizontality of sedimentary deposits.

    Professor: Anatomy, University of Padua

    Converted to Catholicism

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