Jakub Kresa | |
---|---|

Born | |

Died | 28 July 1715
Brno, Margraviate of Moravia | (aged 67)

Nationality | Czech |

Alma mater |
University of Olomouc Charles University |

Known for | Introducing
algebraic number to
trigonometry Translating Euclid's Elements to spanish, thence the nickname " Euclid of the West" |

Scientific career | |

Fields | Mathematics, diplomacy |

Institutions | University of Olomouc Colegio Imperial de Madrid Charles University |

Doctoral students | Karel Slavíček |

**Jakub Kresa** (
Spanish: *Jacobo Kresa*,
Latin: *Jacobo Kreysa*; 19 July 1648 – 28 July 1715) was a Czech mathematician. He was one of the most important Czech mathematicians of the
Baroque era.

Jakub Kresa was born into a smallholder's family at
Smržice, not far from
Prostějov. He studied at the Jesuit
gymnasium (school) in
Brno. There he proved to be an extraordinary student. He not only displayed rare skills in mathematics, but he also became a
polyglot, able to speak fluently
Hebrew,
German,
Latin,
Italian,
Spanish,
French and
Portuguese, in addition to his
Czech mother-tongue.^{
[1]}

In 1669–70 he taught at the
gymnasium (school) in
Litoměřice. Then he went to
Prague, where he studied at the Faculty of Philosophy of
Charles University between 1670 and 1673. After spending a short time back in Litoměřice, he returned to Prague in 1675 and continued his studies in mathematics and theology. Kresa was ordained a priest in 1680. After this he spent a short time in
Telč.^{
[1]}

In 1681 Jakub Kresa started to teach Hebrew at the
University of Olomouc. There he obtained his first
doctorate and between 1682 and 1684 taught mathematics. In Olomouc Kresa's other high points included presiding at the academic dissertation of the mathematician and astronomer
Jan Taletius, who devised a model to predict eclipses of the sun and of the moon.^{
[1]}

Jakub Kresa was also often entrusted with diplomatic tasks. During the peasants' uprising in northern
Bohemia in 1680, he served as mediator between the cavalry regiment of general
Vilém Harant z Polžic and the peasant leaders.^{
[1]}

In 1684 Kresa left Olomouc to become head of the Departments of Mathematics and of Hebreistics at the
Charles University. He was also preaching at the St. Salvador church in Prague. By this time he was already well known for his extraordinary skills regarding mathematics, languages and diplomacy, and he was offered the position of head of Department of Mathematics at the
Colegio Imperial de Madrid. He relocated to Spain in 1686 and stayed there for fifteen years.^{
[1]}

In order to make the study of mathematics easier for the Spanish students, Kresa translated the 8 books of
Euclid's Elements into
Spanish. This brought him recognition and he soon became renowned in the whole country, being dubbed the *Euclid of the West*. At that time it became a custom in Spain to let Kresa assess mathematical treatises ahead of publication.^{
[1]} Apart from the Colegio Imperial de Madrid, Kresa was also giving lectures at the Naval academy of
Cadiz.^{
[2]}

Following the death of spanish king
Charles II in 1700 Kresa went back to Prague. He obtained a doctorate in theology at Charles University and also started to teach theology there. At the same time he was privately teaching mathematics and was acquiring mathematical apparatus for the Department of Mathematics. He was engaged in arithmetic, fractions and logarithms, trigonometry, astronomy, algebra, as well as military architecture. One of his private students, Count Ferdinand Herbert, published Kresa's ideas in magazine *Acta Eruditorum* in 1711.

The Emperor
Leopold I appointed Kresa as confessor of his second son, the
Archduke Charles. He remained in this position after Charles took over the Spanish throne, within the
War of the Spanish Succession, and therefore returned to Spain with him (1704–13).^{
[2]} After nine years in Spain, and the defeat of Charles, Kresa went back to the
Czech Crown lands, working with the help of
Karel Slavíček^{
[3]} on mathematical theories in Brno, where he died in 1715.^{
[1]}

Kresa's manuscripts were transcribed for printing by his students
František Tillisch and
Karel Slavíček, who both later taught at Olomouc.^{
[1]}

The lectures Kresa gave at
Charles University were recorded by student called
Kryštof John, who published them under the title *Mathematica in universitate Pragensi tradica a P. Jacobo Kreysa ... excerpta anno 1685*. The manuscript is today stored at the library of
Strahov Monastery.^{
[1]}

In Kresa's era the
Trigonometric functions were derived using geometry. Kresa was the first to introduce
algebraic number to
trigonometry.^{
[1]}

Kresa's death was followed by a decline in mathematics and science in the Czech Crown lands due to the dogmatic application of Catholic Church doctrines. With
Slavíček
having gone to China, scientific work largely disappeared from the Czech lands for two decades. Although the theories of
Isaac Newton,
Jacques Cassini and
Edmond Halley were well known, local scientists (such as Josef Player or Jan Slezina) were continued to work with the obsolete theories of
Ptolemaios and
Aristoteles. It was only a quarter of a century later, that scientific work was resumed by peoples such as Jan Antonín Scrinci (1697–1773) and Joseph Stepling (1716–1778).^{
[1]}

*Theses mathematicae defendidas por el Ex. mo Seňor Don Innigo de la Cruz*...*en colegio de la Compaňia de Jesus de Ciudad de Cadiz*, 1688Brussels 1689*Elementes geometricos de Euclides, los seis primeros Libros de los planos*, etc.,Prague 1715*Arithmetica Tyro-Brunensis curiosa varietate et observatione communi quidem omnium fructui, sed praeprimis Tyronibus Mathemetum utilis*,Prague 1720*Analysis speciosa trigonometriae sphericae*, etc.

- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}^{d}^{e}^{f}^{g}^{h}^{i}^{j}^{k}k, j (2009). "Dějiny přírodních věd zemí českých (27. část): Český matematik a diploma – Jakub Kresa" (PDF).*Elektro*(in Czech) (2). Retrieved March 2, 2011. - ^
^{a}^{b}Šišma, Pavel; Jaroslav Folta. "Jakub Kresa".*math.muni.cz*(in Czech). **^**"Český jezuita na čínském dvoře".*cinsky.cz*(in Czech). 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2011-02-06.

Categories:

- People from Prostějov District
- Czech Jesuits
- Czech mathematicians
- Linguists from the Czech Republic
- Czech astronomers
- Charles University alumni
- Palacký University Olomouc alumni
- 1648 births
- 1715 deaths
- 17th-century mathematicians
- 17th-century Bohemian people
- 18th-century Bohemian people
- 17th-century Jesuits
- 18th-century Jesuits
- Jesuit scientists
- Catholic clergy scientists
- Academic staff of Palacký University Olomouc