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## Jurij Vega (23 MAR 1754 - 26 SEP 1802)

### Childhood and Education

Jurij Vega was born on
March 23, 1754 in Zagorica, small village
near Ljubljana. When he was 6 years old his father died. Jurij (German=Georg, English=George) was
educated first in Morav"ce and later in
1767 he attended for 6 years high school in Ljubljana. (subjects: latin, greek, verouk, german, history,
geography, science, mathematics). At that time there were about 500 students there. He was a schoolfellow of
Anton Toma"z Linhart, Slovenian writer and historian. Jurij Vega completed high-school when he was 19, in
1773. After completing lyceum in Ljubljana he became navigational
engineer. Tentamen philosophicum,
a list of questions for his comprehensive exam was preserved and is available in Mathmatical Library
in Ljubljana. The problems cover the following areas: logic, algebra, mataphysics, geometry, trigonometry,
geodesy, stereometry, geometry of curves, balistics and general and special phyisics.
### Life and Death

Jurij Vega left Ljubljana five years after graduation and entered military service in 1780 as professor of
mathematics at the Artilery School in Vienna. At that time he started to sign his last name as
Vega and no longer Veha. When Jurij Vega was 33 he married Josefa Svoboda, a
Bohemian noble who was 16 at that time. In September 1802 Jurij Vega was reported missing. After
searching for a few days his body was found in Danube near Vienna. The police report concluded
that it was an accident. However, the true cause of his death remains a mistery.
### War

Vega participated in several wars. In 1788 he served under Field-Marshal Gideon E.
Laudon in a campain against the Turks at Belgrade. His commanding several mortar batteries considerably
contributed to the fall of the Belgrade fortress. Between 1793 and 1797 he fought French Revolutionary under the
command of General Wurmser. He fought at Fort Luis, Mannheim, Mainz, Wiesbaden, Kehl and Dietz.
In 1795 he had two 30-pound mortars cast, with conically drilled bases and a greater charge, for a firing
range up to 3280 yards. The old 60-pound mortars had a range of only 1960 yards.
### Logarithms

Vega published a series of logarithm table books. The first one appeared in 1783. Much later, in 1797 it was
followed by a second volume that contains a collection of integrals and other useful formulae.
His Handbook that was originally published in 1793 was later translated in several languages and
appeared in over 100 issues.
His major work was
**Thesaurus Logarithmorum Completus** that was first published in 1794.
### Textbooks

Over the years Vega wrote a four volume textbook Vorlesungen ueber die Mathematik.
Volume I appeared in 1782 when we was 28 years old, Volume II in 1784, Volume III in 1788 and
Volume IV in 1800. His texbooks also contain interesting tables.
For instance one can find in Volume II closed form expressions for sines of multiples of 3 degrees. They are
written in a form that is easy to work with.
### Papers

Vega wrote at least six scientific papers. The most
important one is the one published in 1789 in which he calculated 140 decimal places of pi.
The previous record was 113 figures and his record stood for over 50 years. Although he worked
in subjects like balistics and astronomy, his major contributions are in mathematics of the
second half of the 18th century.
### Honors

Jurij Vega was a member of the Academy of Practical Sciences in Mainz, the Physical and Mathematical
Society of Erfurt, the Bohemian Scientific Society in Prague, and the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin.
He was also an associate member of the British Scientific Society in Goettingen.
He was awarded the Order of Maria Theresia on May 11, 1796.
In 1800 Jurij Vega obtained a title of hereditary baron including the right to his
coat of arms.

Slovenian PTT issued a stamp honouring Jurij Vega and
the National Bank of Slovenia issued a 50 Tolar banknote in his honour.

More information about Jurij Vega in Slovene.