Gabbey, Alan (1980). Huygens and Mechanics

Home » Gabbey, Alan (1980). Huygens and Mechanics
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Huyghens; Latin: Hugenius; 14 April 1629 – 8 July 1695) was a Dutch mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and inventor who is regarded as a key figure in the Scientific Revolution. In physics, Huygens made seminal contributions to 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. As an engineer and inventor, he improved the design of telescopes and invented the pendulum clock, the most accurate timekeeper for almost 300 years. He has been called the first theoretical physicist and one of the founders of modern mathematical physics. In 1659, Huygens derived geometrically the formula in classical mechanics for the centrifugal force in his work De vi Centrifuga, a decade before Newton. In optics, he is best known for his wave theory of light, which he described in his Traité de la Lumière (1690). His theory of light was initially rejected in favour of Newton’s corpuscular theory of light, until Augustin-Jean Fresnel adopted Huygens’s principle to give a complete explanation of the rectilinear propagation and diffraction effects of light in 1821. Today this principle is known as the Huygens-Fresnel principle. This was g​en​erated by  GSA Conten t Genera​to r DEMO᠎!

Huygens invented the pendulum clock in 1657, which he patented the same year. His horological research resulted in an extensive analysis of the pendulum in Horologium Oscillatorium (1673), regarded as one of the most important 17th century works on mechanics. While it contains descriptions of clock designs, most of the book is an analysis of pendular motion and a theory of curves. In 1655, Huygens began grinding lenses with his brother Constantijn to build refracting telescopes. In 1662 Huygens developed what is now called the Huygenian eyepiece, a telescope with two lenses to diminish the amount of dispersion. The use of expectation values by Huygens and others would later inspire Jacob Bernoulli’s work on probability theory. Constantijn Huygens. Christiaan was named after his paternal grandfather. His mother, Suzanna van Baerle, died shortly after giving birth to Huygens’s sister. Constantijn Huygens was a diplomat and advisor chubby porn to the House of Orange, in addition to being a poet and a musician. He corresponded widely with intellectuals across Europe; his friends included Galileo Galilei, Marin Mersenne, and René Descartes.

Christiaan was educated at home until the age of sixteen, and from a young age liked to play with miniatures of mills and other machines. From his father he received a liberal education, studying languages, music, history, geography, mathematics, logic, and rhetoric, alongside dancing, chubby porn fencing and horse riding. In 1644, Huygens had as his mathematical tutor Jan Jansz Stampioen, who assigned the 15-year-old a demanding reading list on contemporary science. Frans van Schooten was an academic at Leiden from 1646, and became a private tutor to Huygens and his elder brother, Constantijn Jr., replacing Stampioen on the advice of Descartes. Van Schooten brought Huygens’s mathematical education up to date, introducing him to the work of Viète, Descartes, and Fermat. After two years, starting in March 1647, Huygens continued his studies at the newly founded Orange College, in Breda, where his father was a curator. Constantijn Huygens was closely involved in the new College, which lasted only to 1669; the rector was André Rivet.

Christiaan Huygens lived at the home of the jurist Johann Henryk Dauber while attending college, and had mathematics classes with the English lecturer John Pell. His time in Breda ended around the time when his brother Lodewijk, who was enrolled at the school, duelled with another student. Huygens left Breda after completing his studies in August 1649 and had a stint as a diplomat on a mission with Henry, Duke of Nassau. It took him to Bentheim, then Flensburg. He took off for Denmark, visited Copenhagen and Helsingør, and hoped to cross the Øresund to visit Descartes in Stockholm. It was not to be. Although his father Constantijn had wished his son Christiaan to be a diplomat, circumstances kept him from becoming so. The First Stadtholderless Period that began in 1650 meant that the House of Orange was no longer in power, removing Constantijn’s influence. Further, he realized that his son had no interest in such a career. Huygens generally wrote in French or Latin.

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