Franz Xaver von Zach

Zach János Ferenc

1754 (Pest, Hungary) – 1832 (Paris)

Zach, an ambitious, well-connected, well-travelled man, established a network of astronomers from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, from England to Poland, leading to the discovery of the Asteroid belt; he also ran significant scientific journals. Olbers, Messier and Gauss (who aged 22 had come to him for instruction) were among the group of astronomers. He taught Humboldt the use of the sextant. He visited Bode in Berlin, Lalande and Laplace in Paris, then Herschel and Banks in London (and rubbed Maskelyne up the wrong way). Pons was his protégé, Śniadecki and Talbot among his widespread correspondents.

Franz Xaver von Zach knew…