The New York Sun reports that a 17th century Jesuit polymath, Athanasius Kircher, has apparently been the object of much adulation at the City University of New York, where an event planned in his honor is sold out.
Kircher passionately researched Egyptology, Coptic grammar, Sinology, ethnomusicology, wind, the connection between magnetism and love, the size of Noah’s Ark, and what language Adam and Eve might have spoken.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, he also studied the remains of antediluvian elephants, tried to create a universal language (current-day ontologists, take note), designed an early counting machine, and perfected the “speaking tuve” and the Aeolian harp.
Despite his vast erudition and the unbounded adulation he received from pope, prelates, emperor and princes, he is described as having “retained throughout his life a deep humility and a childlike piety.”
I trust this last factoid will not go unmentioned at the CUNY celebration of his scientific feats.