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Georgius AgricolaBorn 24 Mar 1494; died 21 Nov 1555 at age 61. German mineralogist and scholar known as “the father of mineralogy,” who was among the first to found a natural science upon observation and independently from theories of the ancients. Having studied medicine, he became interested in mineralogy through his study of miners' diseases. His contributions to mining geology and metallurgy, mineralogy, structural geology, and paleontology, formed a foundation for further systematic study of the Earth and of its rocks, minerals, and fossils. His most important work De Re Metallica (published a year after his death) summarized all the practical knowledge gained by Saxon miners. He may have coined the word petroleum (“rock oil”). As was the fashion of the day, he Latinized his real name of Georg Bauer (both Bauer in German and Agricola in Latin mean “farmer”.)
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