Netherlands

Maarten Schmidt and the Phenomenon of Quasars

Maarten Schmidt and the Phenomenon of Quasars

On December 28, 1929, Dutch astronomer Maarten Schmidt was born. Schmidt is best known for measuring the distances of quasars. Quasars or quasi-stellar radio sources are the most energetic and distant members of a class of objects called active galactic nuclei (AGN). Quasars are extremely luminous and were first identified as being high redshift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light, that appeared to be similar to stars, rather…
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Jan Ingenhousz and the Principles of Photosynthesis

Jan Ingenhousz and the Principles of Photosynthesis

On December 8, 1730, Dutch physiologist, biologist and chemist Jan Ingenhousz was born. He is best known for showing that light is essential to photosynthesis and thus became one of the scientists who significantly contributed to the discovery of photosynthesis. He also discovered that plants, like animals, have cellular respiration. “Mr. Ingenhouszen belongs to the small number of working physicists who possess the fruitful talent not only to pursue individual objects with admirable…
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Modern Planetary Science with Gerard Kuiper

Modern Planetary Science with Gerard Kuiper

On December 7, 1905, Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Peter Kuiper was born. Considered by many to be the father of modern planetary science, Kuiper is the eponymous namesake of the Kuiper belt, a region of the Solar System beyond the planets, extending from the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to approximately 50 AU from the Sun. Kuiper also discovered Miranda, a moon of Uranus, and Nereid, a moon of Neptune. “The Kuiper Belt…
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Christiaan Huygens and the Development of the Pocket Watch

Christiaan Huygens and the Development of the Pocket Watch

On October 4, 1675, prominent Dutch mathematician, physicist, astronomer and inventor Christiaan Huygens patented a pocket watch. Huygens was a leading scientist of his time, who established the wave theory of light and made outstanding astronomical discoveries. He also patented the first pendulum clock in 1656, which he has developed to meet his need for exact time measurement while observing the heavens. “…the power of this line [the cycloid] to measure time.”  –…
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Pieter Brueghel the Elder and the Dutch Golden Age of Painting

Pieter Brueghel the Elder and the Dutch Golden Age of Painting

On September 9, 1569, Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder passed away. He was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes. He is sometimes referred to as “Peasant Bruegel“, to distinguish him from the many later painters in his family, including his son Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564–1638).[1] Pieter Brueghel the Elder – Background Little is known with…
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Fantastic Beasts of Hieronymus Bosch – and where to find them…

Fantastic Beasts of Hieronymus Bosch – and where to find them…

On 9 August 1516, Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch was buried. One of the most notable representatives of the Early Netherlandish painting school, his work, generally oil on oak wood, mainly contains fantastic illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. Today, Bosch is seen as a hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into humanity’s desires and deepest fears. Hieronymus Bosch – Background Hieronymus Bosch came from the painter family “van Aken”, whose name of…
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Frits Zernike and the Phase Contrast Microscope

Frits Zernike and the Phase Contrast Microscope

On July 16 , 1888, Dutch physicist and Nobel Laureate Frits Zernike was born. He is best known for his invention of the phase contrast microscope, an instrument that permits the study of internal cell structure without the need to stain and thus kill the cells. “I am impressed by the great limitations of the human mind. How quick are we to learn, that is, to imitate what others have done or thought before. And how…
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Jan van Eyck – the King among the Painters

Jan van Eyck – the King among the Painters

On July 9, 1441, Dutch painter Jan van Eyck passed away. He was one of the early innovators of what became known as Early Netherlandish painting, and one of the most significant representatives of Early Northern Renaissance art. He initiated the new naturalistic art epoch north of the Alps. Because of his perfect painting technique and his sense for a true-to-life representation, he was even called “king among painters” by many authors.…
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The Brueghel Family Painting Business

The Brueghel Family Painting Business

Between May 23 and October 10, 1564, Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel the Younger was born. He is known for numerous copies after his father Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s work as well as his original compositions. The large output of his studio, which produced for the local and export market, contributed to the international spread of his father’s imagery. Pieter Brueghel the Younger – Family Background The later artist was born as the…
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Jan Hendrik Oort and the Secrets of the Oort Cloud

Jan Hendrik Oort and the Secrets of the Oort Cloud

On April 28, 1900, Dutch physicist and astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort was born. One of the greatest astronomers of the 20th century, Oort made significant contributions to the understanding of the Milky Way and who was a pioneer in the field of radio astronomy. Oort determined that the Milky Way rotates and overturned the idea that the sun is at its center; he discovered mysterious invisible ‘dark matter‘ in 1932, as well…
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