Friedrich Magnus Schwerd

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Friedrich Magnus Schwerd
His bust, cast by Ferdinand von Miller , next to the cathedral in Speyer
Grave slab, Speyer old cemetery

Friedrich Magnus Schwerd (born March 8, 1792 in Osthofen , † April 22, 1871 in Speyer ) was a German high school teacher , geodesist , astronomer and physicist .

Live and act

Friedrich Magnus Schwerd was the son of the court clerk Ludwig Schwerd and his wife Elisabetha, née Gilardone. Up to the age of 14 the boy did not attend a regular school, but was taught by the Catholic priest Bernhard Nägele in Eich (Rheinhessen) . 1809–1813 he studied in Mannheim and Mainz .

From 1814 until his death, Schwerd worked as a teacher of mathematics and physics, as well as Latin, Greek and biology, at the Royal College in Speyer, today's grammar school at the Kaiserdom . He earned a high reputation for his scientific work. In the field of astronomy, he made precision measurements on 1751 stars . A mathematics textbook he published in 1828 was still used 100 years later in English translation in New York. In 1830 he created one of the sheets of the star map series of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Since 1855 he was a foreign member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences .

In geodesy (earth and land surveying) he developed a new measuring method based on the principle of the Schwerdschen small base , which was used until it was replaced by today's satellite surveying. Schwerd devoted himself extensively to investigating the propagation of light at various types of apertures and developed the associated calculations on the basis of wave theory . On June 12, 1860, King Maximilian II of Bavaria awarded him the Knight's Cross First Class of the Order of Merit of St. Michael . He was buried in the old cemetery Speyer , where his tombstone is preserved in today's cathedral chapter cemetery .

One of the most famous students of Friedrich Magnus Schwerd was the later priest Paul Josef Nardini (1821–1862), who was also very interested in science and who was beatified in 2006 .

His grandson was the engineer Friedrich Schwerd (1872–1953), who owned the complete handwritten estate of his grandfather Friedrich Magnus Schwerd, and his great-grandson was the forensic medicine professor Wolfgang Schwerd († 2014).

Posthumous honors

The Friedrich-Magnus-Schwerd-Gymnasium in Speyer was named after Friedrich Magnus Schwerd.


  • "The small Speyer base or proof that one can determine the basis of a large triangulation with a small, precisely measured line with little expenditure of time, effort and expense." (Speyer 1822)
  • "Arithmetic book with special consideration for the metric measures and weights." (Speyer 1828)
  • "Astronomical observations, employed at the observatory of the Royal Lyceum in Speyer. 3 departments" (Speyer 1829/30)
  • "Analytical investigations of the path that the tip of an angle describes, the legs of which touch a line of the second order (annual report on the K. Studien-Anstalt zu Speyer in the Rhine district)." (Speyer 1830)
  • "The diffraction phenomena from the fundamental laws of the undulation theory developed analytically and shown in pictures." ( Mannheim 1835)
  • "Treatises on observing the stars in H.Ch. Schumacher's Astronomical News. Vol. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 13. ( Altona 1823 ff.)


  • Siegmund GüntherSchwerd, Friedrich Magnus . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 33, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1891, pp. 415-417.
  • Karl-Rudolf Müller: Friedrich Magnus Schwerd , in: Pfälzer Lebensbilder . Volume 2. Publishing house of the Palatinate Society for the Advancement of Science, Speyer 1970
  • Wolf Böhm: "Truth about everything". Life and work of Friedrich Magnus Schwerd. In: Quarterly issues of the Speyer Tourist Association. 1992.
  • Wolf Böhm:  Schwerd, Friedrich Magnus. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 24, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-428-11205-0 , p. 71 ( digitized version ).
  • Wolfgang Schwerd: Thoughts on the occasion of the anniversary celebration for the 60th anniversary of the Würzburg Institute for Forensic Medicine. In: Würzburg medical history reports. 6, 1988, pp. 149-165; here: pp. 152–154.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Communications from Pollichia (Palatinate Association for Natural History and Nature Conservation, Bad Dürkheim), Volumes 58–61, 1901 excerpt from the source
  2. ^ Heinrich Hirzel: Yearbook of Inventions and Advances , 1872, p. 393; Excerpt from the source
  3. Wolfgang Schwerd: Thoughts on the occasion of the anniversary celebration for the 60th anniversary of the Würzburg Institute for Forensic Medicine. In: Würzburger medical historical reports 6, 1988, pp. 149–165; here: p. 152 f.
  4. ^ Jürgen Hamel : Bessel's project of the Berlin academic star maps. In: The Stars. Volume 65 (1989), pp. 11-19, here: p. 15.
  5. Royal Bavarian District Official Gazette of the Palatinate , No. 39, of July 14, 1860
  6. ^ Website of the Speyerer Gymnasium am Kaiserdom, with reference to the former student Paul Joasef Nardini ( Memento from June 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  7. ^ Georg Biundo: Pfälzisches Pfarrer- und Schulmeisterbuch , 1968, p. 63; Excerpt from the source
  8. ^ Publications of the Astrophysical Observatory in Potsdam, Volume 25, 1926, p. 3; Excerpt from the source