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Olaus Rudbeckius

Olaus Rudbeckius, senior or Olof Rudbeck (d.ä.) (1630-1702), Swedish scientist and writer, professor of medicine at Uppsala University and for several periods rector magnificus (headmaster) of the same university. He was the son of Johannes Rudbeckius and father to Olaus Rudbeckius, junior.

Olaus Rudbeckius

Rudbeck was one of two discoverers of the lymphatic system, see history of medicine, when he was very young, and this made his career very successful. To facilitate his studies on human anatomy he had a cupola built on top of the university house and in it was built an arena-like Theatrum anatomicum, where dissection could be carried out in front of students. The cupola still remains and is a landmark in Uppsala (the house, which stands in front of the cathedral, is now called Gustavianum and is still part of the university).

Rudbeck was active in many scientific areas, including astronomy, and left many traces still visible in the city of Uppsala today. He was also said to be a good singer with a strong voice. On the personal level, he was said to be very strong-willed and hard to cooperate with.

Rudbeck also became involved in the rhetorics of the era. Sweden at the time had ascended to a situation as a power in Northern Europe, and as is usual, there was a need for an "intellectual reason" for this power. Rudbeck for this purpose wrote Atlantica, where he argues that Scandinavia, specifically Sweden, is identical with the sunken Atlantis.

Rudbeck has been called "the first Swede to make a scientific discovery". Unfortunately, much of his work was lost in the fire that destroyed most of Uppsala in 1702 (during which Rudbeck himself directed the people of the city, shouting orders from a roof while his house burned down). Shortly after the fire, Rudbeck died.

See also: Olaus Rudbeckius, junior, List of Swedes, List of Swedish scientists