Tycho Brahe: The Man with the Golden Nose and Tame Moose
Tycho Brahe was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations.
While studying in Germany in 1566 Tycho lost part of his nose in a sword duel against fellow nobleman, Manderup Parsbjerg. Tycho had earlier quarrelled with Parsbjerg over the legitimacy of a mathematic formula and since neither had the resources to prove the other wrong, they ended up resolving the issue with a duel.
Though the two later reconciled, the duel two days later (in the dark) resulted in Tycho losing the bridge of his nose. For the rest of his life, he was said to have worn a replacement made of silver and gold, using a paste or glue to keep it attached.
Some have suggested that the false nose also had copper. When Tycho’s tomb was opened in 1901 green marks were found on his skull, suggesting copper. Some historians have speculated that he wore different prosthetics for different occasions, noting that a copper nose would have been more comfortable and less heavy than a precious metal one.
Another famous story about Tycho Brahe is regarding his tame moose. Gassendi, a biographer of Tycho, writes:
Lantgrave Wilhelm, with whom Tycho Brahe had an extensive mail correspondence, asked Tycho in a 1591 letter about an animal he had heard about called “Rix”, which was faster than a deer, but with smaller horns. Tycho replied that such an animal did not exist, but maybe he meant the norwegian animal called reindeer. Tycho wrote that he had a tame moose that he could send if the Lantgrave would like. Lantgrave replied that he would gladly accept.
Tycho then replied that he would have sent his moose, had it not recently died. It had been transported to the castle of Landskrona to entertain a nobleman there but during dinner had ascended the castle stairs and drunk of the beer in such amounts that it had fallen down the stairs, and broken a leg. Despite the best care, the moose had died shortly thereafter. [Source]