University biographical mosaics – Ferenc Weiss

Two hundred and fifty years ago, in 1773, Pope Clement XIII dissolved the Jesuit order, accelerating the process of the university's transfer to the state. Between 1635 and 1773, many distinguished Jesuits of great knowledge taught at our university, leaving a lasting mark on the history of the institution. In March our feature is on Ferenc Weiss, one of the founders of the Buda University Observatory and a pioneer of engineering education in Hungary. 

Ferenc Weiss was born in 1717 in Nagyszombat. He entered the Jesuit order in 1733 and after completing his studies he taught in several Jesuit grammar schools in the Highlands. From 1753 he taught mathematics at the University of Nagyszombat, and in 1755 he opened an institute for the most talented young Jesuits, the first institute for the training of mathematical teachers in Hungary. He participated in the construction of the university's observatory in Nagyszombat and became its director in 1761. After the university's move to Buda, he played a key role in the construction of the new university observatory in the Royal Palace of Buda, alongside Miksa Hell and János Sajnovics. From 1756 he published his astronomical and meteorological observations regularly. Ferenc Weiss died in 1785 in Buda, and donated his books to the University Library. His meteorological notes from 1763 to 1766 are currently preserved in the library's manuscript collection. 

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