A death in the community

I’m a very minor part of the German history of astronomy community one of whose leading lights was the Augsburger amateur (in the best sense) historian Inge Keil who established her reputation with her volume on the life and work of the Augsburger telescope maker Johann Wiesel, Augustanus Opticus: Johann Wiesel (1583 – 1662) und 200 Jahre optisches Handwerk in Augsburg, the first of many books and papers that have become standard works in the history of optics. Johann Wiesel was the leading European telescope maker in the middle of the 17th century and the first to construct and sell telescopes with multiple lens eyepieces.

I had the privilege, the honour and the pleasure of having know Frau Keil an excellent scholar and a first class historian who was also a warm, friendly and generous human being and of having had many stimulating discussions with her about 17th century optics a subject on which she was a font of wisdom. She scolded me for not finishing the written versions of lectures that I held at conferences that we both attended, as she said that I was withholding important results from the world of historical research to which we both belonged. Her publications were always punctual and meticulous.

Frau Keil died on the evening of the 21st July shortly after her 81st birthday, a sad loss for the history of science community and not just in Germany.

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Filed under Autobiographical, History of Astronomy

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