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Neugebauer, Otto

NEUGEBAUER, OTTO (1899–1990), scientific historian and mathematician. Neugebauer was born in Innsbruck, Austria, and studied mathematics at the University of Gottingen where he later became a staff member. The Nazis forced him to leave in 1933, first to Copenhagen and in 1939 for Brown University in the United States, where he immediately became a citizen. Neugebauer started his career as a mathematician and later became the foremost authority on Babylonian mathematics and mathematical astronomy throughout the ancient world, in Islamic countries, and in medieval and Renaissance Europe. His Jewish interest included a study on Maimonides and astronomy and the Jewish calendar, which he showed to be the source of the Islamic calendar. His polymath knowledge made him a preeminent historian of the exact sciences and Brown became the leading institution in this field. From 1950 he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton. His many awards included election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1977) and his publications include the definitive history of mathematical astronomy.