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Marian Wolfgang Koller



Scientist and educator, b. at Feistritz in Carniola, Austria, 31 October, 1792; d. of cholera at Vienna, 19 September, 1866. His education was very thorough; after studying the rudiments at Feistritz he went to Laibach, where he spent nine years (1802-11) in classical, philosophical, and scientific studies, and completed his school life by a course in higher mathematics at Vienna. From 1814 to 1816 he acted as private tutor in a family at Steinbach, and whilst here he was so attracted by the life and work of the Benedictines of Kremsm nster that he finally entered their novitiate on 5 October, 1816, taking the name Marian in place of his baptismal name of Wolfgang. He was ordained priest on 18 August, 1821, and after three years of very successful work in the parish of Sippachzell he was recalled to Kremsm nster to teach natural history and physics. In 1830 he was relieved of the professorship of natural history and appointed director of the astronomical observatory, and during the next seventeen years by his indefatigable labours not only preserved but increased the high repute of the observatory throughout Austria. He continued also to teach physics until 1839, when he was given general charge of the student body. His administrative abilities were so great as to attract the attention of the authorities at Vienna whither he was called in 1847. From this time on he was employed in high offices either in the University of Vienna or in the Department of Education, which was at that time undergoing a process of reconstruction. All matters pertaining to the Realschulen, and to the polytechnic, nautical, and astronomical institutions, were placed under his immediate care, and, as a mark of appreciation for his share in the thorough organization of the Realschulen, the emperor bestowed on him the Cross of the Order of Leopold on 27 May, 1859. In 1848 he was elected member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, and always took a very active part in its proceedings. He was also an active writer, and contributed to various scientific periodicals many articles on astronomy, physics and meteorology. To his high intellectual abilities was added the charm of a genial character, and he thus won not only the esteem but also the affection of those with whom he came into personal contact. His principal work is the "Berechnung der periodischen Naturerscheinungen", published in the "Wiener Denkschrift" (1850).

FELLÖCKER, Gesch. der Sternwarte der Benedictiner-Abtei Kremsm nster (Linz, 1864-9), 247-98; WURZBACH, Biog. Lex. des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, XII (Vienna, 1864), 346-7.

Edward C. Phillips.








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