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BORN, Ignác

* 26. 12. 1742, Capnic, Romania
† 24. 7. 1791, Vienna, Austria

Natural scientist, mountanist

The father of B had been an officer and mining entrepreneur. Following the death of his parents, B entered a Jesuit order in 1757 just to be able to pursue his studies. In 1762 he resigned from the order and studied law at the University of Prague, where he later completed the study of mountanistic sciences. As a mining clerk in Banská Štiavnica (1769/70) he traveled privately and professionally through numerous districts in Slovakia, Hungary and Transylvania. Since 1770 he was employed as a mining clerk on higher mintage and mining bureau in Prague.
In 1772 he abandoned his civil service and retired to his estate in Staré Sedlištĕ in the district of Tachov where he devoted exclusively to scientific work. In 1771/72 he was publishing a weekly review Praške učenjaške novice (Prager gelehrte Nachrichten) in which the reports and discussions regarding the latest findings on the field of natural science were being published. During 1772 and 1775 he described in the catalogue his extensive collection of minerals and fossils which he later sold to British Museum in London. B also conducted chemical experiments involving affinity of substances. In the year 1773/74 he gave an initiative for establishing a private association of scholars in Prague which was later renamed to Royal Czech Association of Scholars.
In 1776 B was summoned to Vienna where he worked in the bureau of imperial cabinet for natural produces, and in the year 1779 he was appointed court councilor in the chamber for coins and mining sciences at Vienna. In 1790 he documented an extensive naturalistic collection of Eleonore Raabs in two catalogues. Working in his own laboratory from 1783 to 1786 he occupied himself with the extraction of metals by applying improved process of amalgamation, a method he introduced at the first congress of European mountanists held in 1786 in Sklené Teplice (Slovakia). Numerous European metallurgical plants had adopted B’s method of increased utilization of metals from the ores. A ‘Societät der Bergbaukunde’ numbering 156 members from twenty one European and overseas countries was established on his instigation in 1786. This first international association, which had been publishing its own almanac On Mining Science, ceased to exist in 1791.
B had importantly contributed to natural sciences beyond Czech lands. Among other things he announced a scientific theory of geological structure of the Carpathian Mountains. He was occupied with the study of the creation of ore deposits and with investigation of crater volcano in Komorna Hurka by Františkovy Láznĕ. In 1780s he significantly contributed to the discussion on volcano science and to the beginnings of geology.

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