Albert was born of Lauingen, Swabia, a region and medieval duchy in southwest Germany which it constituted the area presently included in the states of Baden-Wnrttemberg and Bavaria, in south Germany. The German name of Swabia is Schwaben. It was during his studies at the University of Padua that he decided to become a Dominican friar. While at the university, he demonstrated an unusual grasp for the natural sciences. His fusion of the natural sciences with philosophy formed the basis for the proper use of reason in matters of faith. These studies were continued by a prize student of his, St. Thomas Aquinas. Albert continued to teach throughout Europe until, two years prior to his death, his mental capacity and memory diminished. The title "The Great" was given to him by his contemporaries.