Peter Bienewitz Apian, mathematician, astronomer and geographer, c 1540.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Born in Saxony, Germany, Apian (1495-1552) established his reputation by isuing a world map in 1520 and publishing his work of geography 'Cosmographia' in 1527. In 1527 he published 'Rechnung', an arithmetical textbook, which included the first printed account of Pascal's triangle. Apian's most important work in astronomy was his 'Astronomicum Caesareum' of 1540, which contained detailed descriptions of five comets, including the 1531 appearance of what is now known as Halley's comet. Apian was also the first to record that the tails of comets point away from the sun. This oval portrait of him is surrounded by insects and plants.