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Benzenberg, Johann Friedrich

Born Schöller near Elberfeld, (Nordrhein‐Westfalen, Germany), 5 May 1777

Died Bilk near Düsseldorf, (Germany), 7 June 1846

Johann Benzenberg, the codiscoverer of the upper‐atmospheric (nontropospheric) location of meteors, later funded a private observatory at Bilk, which became an important center of minor‐planet research. He was the son of Heinrich Benzenberg, a Protestant theologian (1744-1809), and Johanna Elisabeth (née Fues). In 1807, he married Charlotte Platzhoff (1789-1809) of Elberfeld. After studying theology (at Herborn and Marburg), Benzenberg went to Göttingen, where he developed a strong interest in science by attending the lectures of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg and Abraham Gotthelf Kästner. Following Lichtenberg's death, Benzenberg received his Ph.D. from the University of Duisburg in 1800. In 1805, he became a professor of mathematics at the Lyzeum (women's college) of Düsseldorf and the director of surveying for the Duchy of Berg. After