Acta Eruditorum

(Philosophical Transactions)


The Acta Eruditorum was first published in Leipzig in 1682 under the auspices of the Collegium Gellianum, with support from the Duke of Saxony. Its purpose was to provide announcements of and abstracts to notable publications of the time--this included long-standing books and articles as well as contemporary works. The articles presented were taken from a wide range of topics, including medicine, mathematics, physics, law, history, geography, and theology. Before long, the Acta had become the most well-known German publication of its kind. Volume one is a good indicator of its auspicious beginnings; it includes articles by Boyle, Leeuwenhoek, Leibniz, and Johann Bernoulli. Later contributors (some posthumous) were Pascal, Huygens, Halley, and Descartes.

Perhaps the Acta's most important contribution to German scholarship was that it published both works by German and foreign scholars. This had the double effect of stimulating scientific inquiry in the German nations and informing foreign scientists of the German contribution to the body of scientific knowledge.

One other notable fact about the Acta is that it was published exclusively in Latin; in fact, many articles and reviews were translated into Latin for publication.

The Acta's founder and first editor was Otto Mencke; editorship passed later to his son Johann. They appeared on a monthly basis and was published in 50 volumes, concluding in 1731. It was succeeded by the Nova Acta Eruditorum in 1732. During Otto Mencke's editorship, the number of contributions totaled 4,406, with 316 of these being original papers.

Euler published two papers in the Acta Eruditorum, one in volume 45 and the other in volume 46, as shown below: