Henry Oldenburg

Henry Oldenburg

Henry Oldenburg (c. 1619 - September, 1677) worked as a diplomat and a natural philosopher. Born in Bremen, Germany, he trained in theology and received his degree on 2 November 1639. He became a tutor before settling in England during the English interregnum, where he forged a strong relationship with his lifelong patron Robert Boyle. After the Restoration he became an early member ("original fellow") of the Royal Society (founded in 1660), and served as its first secretary, maintaining an extensive network of scientific contacts through Europe. He also became the founding editor of the "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society". Oldenburg began the practice of sending submitted manuscripts to experts who could judge their quality before publication. This was the beginning of both the modern scientific journal and the practice of peer review. [http://books.nap.edu/readingroom/books/obas/contents/publication.html] .

"Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society" continues today and is the longest running scientific journal in the world.

Oldenburg enjoyed good health in his lifetime, but he fell seriously ill on 3 September 1677, and he died two days thereafter at his Pall Mall, London home. He was interred on 7 September at St Mary the Virgin, Bexley. His widow died ten days later.

Further reading

* Marie Boas Hall, "Henry Oldenburg; Shaping the Royal Society", Oxford University Press, 2002.
*Jean-Pierre Vittu, "Henry Oldenburg 'Grand intermédiaire'", in "Les grands intermédiaires culturels de la République des Lettres", pub. by Christiane Berkvens-Stevelinck, Hans Bots and Jens Häseler, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2005, pp. 184-209
* [http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqDb=Persons&dsqPos=28&dsqSearch=((text)='oldenburg') Archival record of Oldenburg at the Royal Society ]

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