gunther oestmann
History

Prix Gaïa 2013 – Günter Oestmann. History-Research category

In awarding this prize, the Prix Gaïa jury wished to recognise the universal nature of the winner's writings and their importance in broadcasting a knowledge and culture of time measurement, the history of techniques and the watchmaking industry.

His research focuses on maritime history, the history of scientific instruments and clocks, as well as astronomy, navigation and mathematical geography.
His thesis involved him in conducting some remarkable work on the Strasbourg astronomical clock.

He recently researched the introduction of chronometers into the German merchant and Imperial navy and the manufacture thereof up until the First World War.
He also gives courses and seminars on the following:

  • history of technology and scientific instruments;
  • history of astronomical instruments;
  • history of astronomy in Germany and Modern Europe;
  • history, construction and use of the astrolabe;
  • history and mathematical bases of astronomical calendars;
  • history of navigation from the Renaissance to the 19th century; 

His career

Günther Oestmann, born in Bremen in 1959, embarked on his professional career by training as a watchmaker between 1979 and 1982.
He then studied art history and the history of science after 1983 and until 1990 at the Universities of Tübingen and Hamburg.

In 1992, he obtained a Doctorate for his thesis on the astronomical clock at Strasbourg cathedral (Astronomische Uhr des Straßburger Münsters), a thesis that earned him the Philipp-Matthäus-Hahn-Award from the city of Kornwestheim in 1993. 

During this time, and until 1994, he worked as a volunteer at the Württembergischen Landesmuseum in Stuttgart, thereby already demonstrating a keen interest in museum work. He then worked as an assistant at the Institute of the History of Science at the University of Hamburg. He continued his studies within the context of his PhD thesis (Habilitation) and published his monograph "Heinrich Rantzau und die Astrologie" in 2001. 

While pursuing his research and university studies, he also trained as a master watchmaker and was awarded the vocational qualification of Meisterprüfung at the Bundesfachschule für Uhrmacher de Karlstejn in Austria. 

Expanding his field of interests further, he then worked on the history of navigation and was a curator between 2006 and 2008 with the maritime department of the Deutsches Museum in Munich. 

Since 2009, he has been visiting professor at the Institute of philosophy, philosophical science, and history of science and technology at the Technical University of Berlin, and between 2010 and 2013 he was research associate at the Deutschen Schiffahrtsmuseum in Bremerhaven. His current course focuses on the history, construction and use of the astrolabe.

Publications (selection)

  • 2012 OESTMANN, Günther, „Eine seltene Globusuhr von Philipp Matthäus Hahn“., In: Klassik Uhren, 2012, H. 4, S. 12–14.
  • 2011 OESTMANN, Günther, Heinrich Johann Kessels (1781 - 1849) : ein bedeutender Verfertiger von Chronometern und Präzisionsuhren ; biographische Skizze und Werkverzeichnis, Frankfurt, M.: Harri Deutsch, 2011
  • 2011 OESTMANN, Günther, „Delayed Progress in Navigation: The Introduction of Line of Position Navigation in Germany and Austria“, in: GEM: International Journal on Geomathematics, 1, 2011, S. 133–143
  • 2009 OESTMANN, Günther, „Zur Rekonstruktion und Ausgabe des Mondglobus von Tobias Mayer“, In: Gauß-Gesellschaft e.V. Göttingen: Mitteilungen, Nr. 46, 2009, S. 63–64.
  • 2008 DASYPODIUS, Konrad, Heron mechanicus seu de mechanicis artibus, atque disciplinis, eiusdem horologii astronomici, Argentorati in summo templo erecti, descriptio : Argentorati 1580, Transl. by Bernard Aratowsky. With an introd. and commentary by Günther Oestmann, Augsburg: Rauner, 2008
  • 2008 OESTMANN, Günther, „Jabbo Oltmanns’ Bericht über die Einrichtung der Emder Navigationsschule und sein Entwurf einer neuen Prüfungsinstruktion“, in: DAUBEN, Joseph W., Stefan KIRSCHNER u.a. (Hg.), Mathematics Celestial and Terrestrial: Festschrift für Menso Folkerts zum 65. Geburtstag (= Acta Historica Leopoldina, Nr. 54), Halle (Saale)/Stuttgart 2008, S. 633–646.
  • 2007 OESTMANN, Günther, „Zur frühen Geschichte der Dorpater Sternwarte und ihrer instrumentellen Ausstattung“, in: HAMEL, Jürgen und Inge KEIL (Hg.), Der Meister und die Fernrohre: Das Wechselspiel zwischen Astronomie und Optik in der Geschichte. Festschrift zum 85. Geburtstag von Rolf Riekher (= Acta Historica Astronomiae, Bd. 33), Frankfurt/M. 2007, S. 315–331.
  • 2005 OESTMANN, Günther (éd.), Horoscopes and public spheres: essays on the history of astrology, Berlin; New York : de Gruyter, 2005
  • 2005 OESTMANN, Günther, „Der Himmelsglobus des Jakob Rabus (1546)“, in: Der Globusfreund: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Globenkunde, 51/52, 2005, S. 21–32.
  • 2004 OESTMANN, Günther, Heinrich Rantzau und die Astrologie: ein Beitrag zur Kulturgeschichte des 16. Jahrhunderts, Braunschweig: Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, 2004
  • 2003 OESTMANN, Günther, et al., Die Uhr am alten Rathaus in Esslingen am Neckar , Weißenhorn: Konrad, 2003
  • 2003 OESTMANN, Günther, „Tycho Brahe’s Geniture“, In: Culture and Cosmos: A Journal of the History of Astrology and Cultural Astronomy, 7, 2003, Nr. 2, S. 3–13.
  • 2002 OESTMANN, Günther, „Measuring and Dating the Arabic Celestial Globe at Dresden“, in: DORIKENS, Maurice (Hg.), Scientific Instruments and Museums (= Proceedings of the XXth International Congress of History of Science [Liège, 20.– 26.7.1997], Bd. 26/De Diversis Artibus: Collection de Travaux de l’Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences, Bd. 59 [N.F., 22]), Turnhout 2002, S. 291–298.
  • 2001 OESTMANN, Günther, „On the History of the Nocturnal“, In: Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society, Nr. 69, 2001, S. 5–9.
  • 2000 OESTMANN, Günther, „Zeit und Ewigkeit: Astronomische Uhren des Mittelalters und der Renaissance“, in: Zeit: Das ewige Rätsel
  • 1999 OESTMANN, Günther, „The Strasbourg Cathedral Clock“ [Xth Dingwall-Beloe Lecture, London, British Museum, 25.11.1998]. Antiquarian Horology and the Proceedings of the Antiquarian Horological Society, 25, 1999, H. 1, S. 50–63 [Zusammenfassung in: Horological Journal, 141, 1999, S. 46– 47].
  • 1997 OESTMANN, Günther, „Das Astrolabium: Ein universales Meß- und Recheninstrument“, in: HOPPMANN, Jürgen G. H. (Hg.), Melanchthons Astrologie: Der Weg der Sternenwissenschaft zur Zeit von Humanismus und Reformation, Wittenberg 1997, S. 16– 17.
  • 1995 OESTMANN, Günther, „Johannes Stoeffler’s Celestial Globe“, in: Der Globusfreund: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Globen- und Instrumentenkunde, 43/44, 1995, S. 59–70.
  • 1993 OESTMANN, Günther, Die astronomische Uhr des Strassburger Münsters : Funktion und Bedeutung eines Kosmos-Modells des 16. Jahrhunderts , Stuttgart : Verl. für Geschichte der Naturwiss. und der Technik, 1993 

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