Oronce Fine ( 1494 - 1555)

French mathematician, cartographer and illustrator. Born in Briançon, the son and grandson of physicians. He received his education in Paris at the Collège de Navarre and obtained a degree in medicine in 1522. He grew up in an academic household, and his parents were prominent contributors to the sciences in France at the time. His father, in addition to being a physician, was well-versed in astronomy and had created astronomical instruments. He published a treatise that was among the few astronomical works of French origin during that period.

In 1531, Fine was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the Collège Royal, where he taught mathematics at the college until his death, becoming one of the leading mathematicians in France. Despite his significant contributions to mathematics, Fine faced financial problems and legal issues throughout his career. He took on work as an illustrator and proofreader for Parisian printing houses to support his large family and cope with his father’s death. He published the astronomy book De mundi sphaera in 1542. Fine’s writing covered the use of astronomical equipment and methods, including innovations like the méthéoroscope, an astrolabe modified with a compass. He also delved into geography, creating one of the first woodcut maps of France in 1525. His heart-shaped world map projection, first used in 1531, became a model for other cartographers, including Peter Apian and Gerardus Mercator.

Fine’s cosmography was influenced by the German mathematician and cosmographer Johannes Schöner.

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