Friday, 18 April 2014

Findings of research into Brahe's remains on display

11 February 2013

Prague, Feb 10 (CTK) - The results of a recent research into the remains of 16th-century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, buried in Prague's Church of Our Lady before Tyn, will be presented at the Czech Science Academy (CAV) as from Monday until February 22.

CAV experts together with Danish scientists jointly announced last year that he probably died natural death and that he was not poisoned with mercury which was long believed.

The exhibition will present the results of an extensive cooperation of archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, physicians, physicists, chemists and conservationists.

The visitors will also learn about Brahe's stay at the Prague court of Emperor Rudolph II from 1599 until his death in 1601.

It was speculated that Brahe died of kidney problems or that he was poisoned with mercury during his experiments.

Theories were also published saying he may have been murdered, may be even on the order of then Danish King Christian.

His murder was blamed among others on his assistant Johannes Kepler who allegedly wanted to seize Brahe's astronomical recordings.

Brahe's remains were first taken out from his tomb in Prague's Church of Our Lady before Tyn in 1901 and a later analysis allegedly proved an unusually high concentration of mercury.

Denmark asked for a new exhumation in 2009. The Czech and Danish scientists' teams got samples and they came to the conclusion that Brahe did not die of either acute or chronic mercury poisoning.

He did have mercury in his beard, but the quantity was too small to threaten his life.

Besides the samples of his remains, the scientists also gained further parts of his burial clothes with which they completed the collection from the previous tomb opening in 1901.

Experts say Brahe's burial clothes were made of luxury material after Spanish and eastern fashion and that they were well made.

Brahe's clothes are owned by the church that should have them restored according to a previous statement by experts from the Prague Municipal Museum.

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