Christiaan Huygens was a Dutch scientist, astronomer, physicist, mathematician, and inventor who made many important contributions to these fields. Other inventions by Huygens included his design of an internal combustion engine in 1680 that ran off of gunpowder, although he never actually built it. In physics, Huygens made groundbreaking contributions in optics and mechanics, while as an astronomer he is chiefly known for his studies of the rings of Saturn and the discovery of its moon Titan. And because of his contributions to the field of astronomy, many celestial objects, features and vehicles have been named after Huygens. Huygens’ health was never good, and he suffered from recurrent illnesses, including one in 1670 which was so serious that for a time he despaired of his own life. One such source, as Hugh Aldersey-Williams explores, was Dutch astronomer, mathematician, and inventor Christiaan Huygens, whose earlier work on probability paved the way for his very modern evaluation of what alien life might look like. 10 (3) (1983) , … A year earlier they had already had a telescope made by … In gravitation his theory was never taken seriously and remains today of historical interest only. Christiaan Huygens He is the son of Constantin Huygens and Suzanna van Baerle and was born on April 14, 1629 in The Hague, Netherlands. The superstitions of the Middle Ages were disappearing as a new picture of how the universe really works was emerging. For almost the whole of the 18th century his work in both dynamics and light was overshadowed by that of Newton. In 1666 Huygens became one of the founding members of the French Academy of Sciences, which granted him a pension larger than that of any other member and an apartment in its building. We welcome any additional information. Born at the Hague in the Netherlands in 1629, Huygens was the child of an important family. Strongly inspired by their father Constantijn Huygens Senior, himself particularly interested in optical innovations, the Huygens brothers began grinding object lenses in 1654. Christiaan Huygens was a Dutch scientist born in 1629. Fittingly, Huygens wrote one of the earliest discussions on extraterrestial life, published just after his death. After his return to the Hague in August 1649 he went to Denmark as … He studied at home under private tutors and, through his father, interacted with prominent visitors such as French philosopher and mathematician RenéDescartes. A serious illness in 1681 prompted him to return to Holland, where he intended to stay only temporarily. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens not only proposed the earliest theory about the nature of light, he also put optics to good use when he turned a telescope toward Saturn and observed that its odd blob-like shape — Galileo had first seen the shape in a telescope and drew it in his notebook as something like ears on the planet — was in fact caused by rings. Source for information on Huygens Family: Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the … As a child, he made little machines and delighted in solving mathematical puzzles, such that people began to refer to him as the “Dutch Archimedes”. Christiaan Huygens. Doubtful about Sir Isaac Newton 's view that light consisted of a flux of innumerable luminous particles, Huygens worked out an alternative theory that showed how light could be thought of as a wave which pulsated longitudinally in the overall direction of its motion. He turned one of his improved telescopes toward the planet Saturn, which had shown an elongated appearance in less accurate observations. Christiaan Huygens April 14, 1629, The Hague, Netherlands - July 8,1695, (aged 66) Netherlands. Huygens' last major contribution to science came shortly before a bout of illness that destroyed his health. But his work on rotating bodies and his contributions to the theory of light were of lasting importance. He used air to draw underground water up a pump, similiar to how a syringe draws water. Some of his early efforts in geometry impressed Descartes, who was an occasional visitor to the Huygens’ household. Janus. He was perplexed as to why there was a limit to the height water could be raised. ... Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Christiaan was named after his paternal grandfather. From an early age, Huygens showed a marked mechanical bent and a talent for drawing and mathematics. He was also the first to reveal the potential of a micrometer. He was the first to state a mathematical formula to describe the centripetal and centrifugal force. Besides, he made a colossal discovery of the moon named Titan. Early publications by Huygens focused on mathematical problems, but in 1654 he turned his attention to the telescope. Born in 1629, Huygens came from a wealthy and well-connected family, who served in the diplomatic service to the House of Orange. During his next visit to Paris in 1660, he met Blaise Pascal, with whom he had already been in correspondence on mathematical problems. You’re in luck! He a lso invented an improved type of 2-lense eyepieces and constructed very long air telescopes of up to 250 feet focal length. 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