Sunday, September 2, 2007
Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695)
The world is my country, science is my religion.
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Christiaan Huygens (born in The Hague on April 14, 1629) was a Dutch mathematician and physicist. He is the son of Constantijn Huygens. In 1655, he discovered Saturn's moon Titan. He also examined Saturn's planetary rings, and in 1656 he found out those rings consisted of rocks. In the same year he observed the Orion Nebula. Using his modern telescope he was able to divide the nebula into different stars. The brighter interior of the Orion Nebula is called the Huygens Region. He also discovered several interstellar nebulas and some double stars. After Blaise Pascal encouraged him to do so, Huygens wrote the first book on probability theory, which was published in 1657. He also worked on the construction of accurate clocks, suitable for naval navigation. In 1658 he published a book on this topic called Horologium. Huygens was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1663. In the year 1666 Huygens moved to Paris where he held a chair at the French Royal Society. Using the Parisian observatory, which was completed in 1672, he made further astronomical observations. He moved back to The Hague in 1681 after serious illness and died there 14 years later on July 8, 1695. [This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Christiaan Huygens.]
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