Jacob Struve
Jacob Struve was a German
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

 and father of the astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve
Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve
Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve was a Danish-Baltic German astronomer from a famous dynasty.-Life:...


Jacob Struve was born in 1755, in Horst, Steinburg, Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

. He was the youngest of the four children of Johann Struve (1710 – February 20, 1778) and Abel Strüven (November 23, 1719 – November 18, 1762). From the young age he had to work in the fields, but he also received lessons in Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, German, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and in mathematics, which he liked most. From 1771 till 1775 he studied the Christianeum High School
Christianeum Hamburg
The Christianeum in Hamburg is a famous former "Latin school" in Hamburg, northern Germany. Founded in 1738 by King Christian VI of Denmark, it is now housed in a building planned by Danish designer Arne Jacobsen.-History:...

 in Altona
Altona, Hamburg
Altona is the westernmost urban borough of the German city state of Hamburg, on the right bank of the Elbe river. From 1640 to 1864 Altona was under the administration of the Danish monarchy. Altona was an independent city until 1937...

, then part of both Denmark and Germany. Starting from 1775, he entered the University of Göttingen (some sources say he studied at the Uninversity of Kiel) and attended mathematics lectures of Abraham Gotthelf Kästner
Abraham Gotthelf Kästner
Abraham Gotthelf Kästner was a German mathematician and epigrammatist.He was known in his professional life for writing textbooks and compiling encyclopedias rather than for original research. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was one of his doctoral students, and admired the man greatly. He became...

, which were rather popular among students, including Struve. In 1780, through the assistance of one of his teachers, Christian Gottlob Heyne
Christian Gottlob Heyne
Christian Gottlob Heyne was a German classical scholar and archaeologist as well as long-time director of the Göttingen State and University Library.-Biography:He was born in Chemnitz, Electorate of Saxony...

, Struve obtained a position of vice-principal in a Latin school in Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

. In 1783, he became a school principal in Bückeburg
Bückeburg is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany, on the border with North Rhine Westphalia. It was once the capital of the tiny principality of Schaumburg-Lippe and is today located in the district of Schaumburg close to the northern slopes of the Weserbergland ridge...

 and from 1784 held the same position in Hanover. In 1783, Struve married Maria Emerentia Wiese (September 8, 1764 – July 14, 1847) from Hamburg. They had five sons and two daughters:
  • Carl Struve (1785–1838)
  • Ernst Struve (1786–1822)
  • Gustav Struve (1788–1829)
  • Christina Struve (1791–1853)
  • Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve
    Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve
    Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve was a Danish-Baltic German astronomer from a famous dynasty.-Life:...

  • Ludwig Struve (1795–1828)
  • Johanna Struve (1797–1871)

Carl went into his father's footsteps and served as a school director in Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

. Friedrich Georg Wilhelm became a distinguished astronomer. Ludwig graduated from the University of Kiel
University of Kiel
The University of Kiel is a university in the city of Kiel, Germany. It was founded in 1665 as the Academia Holsatorum Chiloniensis by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and has approximately 23,000 students today...

, obtained PhD degree in medicine and worked as anatomy professor at the University of Tartu
University of Tartu
The University of Tartu is a classical university in the city of Tartu, Estonia. University of Tartu is the national university of Estonia; it is the biggest and highest-ranked university in Estonia...


Maria Emerentia was a daughter of Paster Stinde, who went to Russia as a chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

 to Peter III
Peter III of Russia
Peter III was Emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. He was very pro-Prussian, which made him an unpopular leader. He was supposedly assassinated as a result of a conspiracy led by his wife, who succeeded him to the throne as Catherine II.-Early life and character:Peter was born in Kiel, in...

. This might have affected further settlement of part of the Struve family
Struve family
The Struve family were a dynasty of five generations of astronomers from the 18th to 20th centuries. Members of the family were also prominent in chemistry, government and diplomacy.-Origins:...

 in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 (mostly in Tartu
Tartu is the second largest city of Estonia. In contrast to Estonia's political and financial capital Tallinn, Tartu is often considered the intellectual and cultural hub, especially since it is home to Estonia's oldest and most renowned university. Situated 186 km southeast of Tallinn, the...

). In particular, many sons of Struve left Germany, likely to avoid recruitment to the Napoleonic armies.

In 1791, Struve became a professor at the Christianeum High School in Altona which he graduated from, and from 1794 till his retirement in 1827 served as the school director. In the meantime, he continued his studies in the fields of algebra
Algebra is the branch of mathematics concerning the study of the rules of operations and relations, and the constructions and concepts arising from them, including terms, polynomials, equations and algebraic structures...

, geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

, probability theory
Probability theory
Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with analysis of random phenomena. The central objects of probability theory are random variables, stochastic processes, and events: mathematical abstractions of non-deterministic events or measured quantities that may either be single...

 and number theory
Number theory
Number theory is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers. Number theorists study prime numbers as well...

, which were based on the works of Kästner, Leonhard Euler
Leonhard Euler
Leonhard Euler was a pioneering Swiss mathematician and physicist. He made important discoveries in fields as diverse as infinitesimal calculus and graph theory. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion...

 and Georg Simon Klügel
Georg Simon Klügel
Georg Simon Klügel was a German mathematician and physicist.He was born in Hamburg, and in 1760 went to the University of Göttingen where he initially studied theology before switching to mathematics. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was a fellow student...

. His results were published between 1800 and 1827 in more than 20 articles. In 1813, Struve obtained a doctoral degree from the University of Kiel
University of Kiel
The University of Kiel is a university in the city of Kiel, Germany. It was founded in 1665 as the Academia Holsatorum Chiloniensis by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and has approximately 23,000 students today...

. He died in 1841 in Altona leaving a family which produced prominent astronomers for 5 generations ahead.

His attitude to life could be expressed in a phrase from his letter to Friedrich
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