Blessed Nicolas Steno - December 5

Nicolas Steno (Danish: Niels Steensen; Latinized to Nicolaus Steno or Nicolaus Stenonius; 1 January 1638 – 25 November 1686 [11 January 1638 – 5 December 1686]) was a Danish scientist, a pioneer in …More
Nicolas Steno (Danish: Niels Steensen; Latinized to Nicolaus Steno or Nicolaus Stenonius; 1 January 1638 – 25 November 1686 [11 January 1638 – 5 December 1686]) was a Danish scientist, a pioneer in both anatomy and geology who became a Catholic bishop in his later years. Steno was trained in the classical texts on science; however, by 1659 he seriously questioned accepted knowledge of the natural world. Importantly he questioned explanations for tear production, the idea that fossils grew in the ground and explanations of rock formation. His investigations and his subsequent conclusions on fossils and rock formation have led scholars to consider him one of the founders of modern stratigraphy and modern geology. The importance of Steno's foundational contributions to geology may be gauged from the fact that half of the twenty papers in a recent miscellany volume on The Revolution in Geology from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment focus on Steno, the "preeminent Baroque polymath and founder of modern geologic thought".
Born to a Lutheran family, Steno converted to Catholicism in 1667. After his conversion, his interest for natural sciences rapidly waned giving way to his interest in theology. At the beginning of 1675, he decided to become a priest. Four months after, he was ordained in the Catholic clergy in Easter 1675. As a clergyman, he was later appointed Vicar Apostolic of Nordic Missions and Titular Bishop of Titopolis by Pope Innocent XI. Steno played an active role in the Counter-Reformation in Northern Germany. The canonization process for him was begun in 1938. Pope John Paul II beatified Steno in 1988.

After his death in 1686, Steno was venerated as a saint in the diocese of Hildesheim. Steno's piety and virtue have been evaluated with a view to an eventual canonization. His canonization process was begun in Osnabrück in 1938.[7] In 1953 his grave in the crypt of the church of San Lorenzo was opened as part of the beatification process.[48] His corpse was transferred to a fourth-century Christian sarcophagus found in the river Arno donated by the Italian state. His remains were placed in a lateral chapel of the church that received the name of "Capella Stenoniana". He was declared "beatus" — the third of four steps to being declared a saint — by Pope John Paul II in 1988. He is thus now called by Catholics Blessed Nicolas Steno. His feast day is 5 December.
Steno's life and work has been studied, in particular in relation to the developments in geology in the late nineteenth century.
The Steno Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, named after Nicolas Steno, holds exhibitions on the history of science and medicine.[49] It also operates a planetarium, a medicinal herb garden and the greenhouses in Aarhus Botanical Gardens.
The Steno Medal, awarded by the Geological Society of Denmark, honors prominent geologists who have made significant contributions to Danish and Greenland geology, and is named in his honor.
Impact craters on Mars (68.0°S 115.6°W) and the Moon are named in his honor.
The mineral stenonite was named in his honour.
The Catholic parish church of Grevesmühlen, North Germany, built from 1989 to 1991, is dedicated to Nicolas Steno.
In 1950 the "Niels Steensens Gymnasium", a Catholic preparatory school, was founded by the Jesuit Order in Copenhagen.
Steno Diabetes Center, a research and teaching hospital dedicated to diabetes in Gentofte, Denmark, was named after Nicolas Steno.
The Istituto Niels Stensen was founded in 1964 in Florence, Italy. Administered by the Jesuit Order, it is dedicated to his memory.
On 11 January 2012, Steno was commemorated with a Google doodle as the founder of geology.