Steno, Nicolaus

Danish Niels Steensen or Niels Stensen

born Jan. 10, 1638, Copenhagen, Den.
died Nov. 26, 1686, Schwerin, Prussia

Danish geologist and anatomist.

An eminent physician, in 1660 he discovered the parotid salivary duct (Stensen's duct). In his geologic observations, he was the first to realize that the Earth's crust contains a chronological history of geologic events that might be deciphered by careful study of rock strata and fossils, which he identified as the remains of ancient living organisms. In 1669 he made the fundamental crystallographic discovery that all quartz crystals have the same angles between corresponding faces. He later abandoned science for religion and became a priest in 1675.

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▪ Danish geologist
Danish Niels Steensen, or Stensen
born Jan. 10, 1638, Copenhagen, Den.
died Nov. 26, 1686, Schwerin [Germany]

      geologist and anatomist whose early observations greatly advanced the development of geology.

      In 1660 Steno went to Amsterdam to study human anatomy, and while there he discovered the parotid salivary duct, also called Stensen's duct. In 1665 he went to Florence, where he was appointed physician to the grand duke Ferdinand II.

      Steno traveled extensively in Italy, and in 1669 he published his geological observations in De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis prodromus (The Prodromus of Nicolaus Steno's Dissertation Concerning a Solid Body Enclosed by Process of Nature Within a Solid). In this work, a milestone in the literature of geology, he laid the foundations of the science of crystallography. He reported that, although quartz crystals differ greatly in physical appearance, they all have the same angles between corresponding faces. In addition he proposed the revolutionary idea that fossils are the remains of ancient living organisms and that many rocks are the result of sedimentation.

      Steno was the first to realize that the Earth's crust contains a chronological history of geologic events and that the history may be deciphered by careful study of the strata and fossils. He rejected the idea that mountains grow like trees, proposing instead that they are formed by alterations of the Earth's crust. Hampered by religious intolerance and dogma, Steno was constrained to place all of geologic history within a 6,000-year span.

      Upon becoming a Roman Catholic in 1667, Steno abandoned science for religion. He took holy orders in 1675, was made a bishop in 1677, and was appointed apostolic vicar of northern Germany and Scandinavia.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Steno, Nicolaus — • Or Niels Steensen. Danish anatomist and geologist who converted to Catholicism. Was made a bishop. He died in 1686 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Steno , Nicolaus — (1638–1686) Danish anatomist and geologist The son of a goldsmith, Steno was educated in his native city of Copenhagen before beginning his travels and studies abroad in 1660. While studying anatomy in Amsterdam he discovered the parotid salivary …   Scientists

  • Steno, Nicolaus — danés Niels Steensen o Niels Stensen (10 ene. 1638, Copenhague, Dinamarca–26 nov. 1686, Schwerin, Prusia). Geólogo y anatomista danés. Médico eminente, en 1660 descubrió el ducto salival parotídeo (conducto de Stensen o de Stenon). En sus… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Nicolaus Steno — Nicolaus Steno, das Porträt entstand in Schwerin kurz vor seinem Tod Nicolaus Steno(nis) (Latinisierung von Niels Stensen, * 1. Januarjul./ 11. Januar 1638greg. in Kopenhagen (Dänemark); † 25. November …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nicolaus Steno —     Nicolaus Steno     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Nicolaus Steno     (Niels Steensen)     An eminent Danish anatomist and geologist, convert and saintly bishop, born at Copenhagen, 1 January, 1638; died at Schwerin in Germany, 25 November, 1686.… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Nicolaus — ist ein männlicher Vorname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Bekannte Namensträger 2.1 Vorname 2.2 Zwischenname …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Steno — ist: eine Kurzbezeichnung für Stenografie der Gattungsname der Rauzahndelfine Steno ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Michele Steno ( 1331–1413), Doge von Venedig (1400–1413) Nicolaus Steno (1638–1686), dänischer Arzt, Anatom und Geologe,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nicolaus Steno — Niels Stensen Niels Stensen. Niels Stensen (latinisée en Nicolaus Stenonis, en français Nicolas Sténon, en anglais Nicolas Steno et en italien Niccolo Stenone) est un anatomiste et géologue d origine danoise, né le 10 janvier 1638 à Copenhague et …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Steno — Stenografie; Eilschrift; Schnellschrift; Kurzschrift; Stenographie * * * Ste|no 〈f.; ; unz.; umg.; Kurzw. für〉 Stenografie ● sie kann, schreibt Steno; Steno lernen; der Brief ist in Steno geschrieben * * * 1Ste|no, die; <meist o. Art.> …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Steno's law — ▪ crystallography       statement that the angles between two corresponding faces on the crystals of any solid chemical or mineral species are constant and are characteristic of the species; this angle is measured between lines drawn… …   Universalium

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