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Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and the Measurement of Temperature

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and the Measurement of Temperature

On May 24, 1686, Dutch-German-Polish physicist, engineer, and glass blower Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was born. He is is best known for his invention of the mercury-in-glass thermometer in 1714, and for developing a temperature scale that is now named after him. His parents living in Gdansk were Daniel (1656-1701) and Concordia Fahrenheit (1657-1701) (née Schumann, related Runge). The mother came from a well-known Gdañsk merchant family and was the daughter of the…
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Pieter Zeeman and the Zeeman Effect

Pieter Zeeman and the Zeeman Effect

On October 9, 1943, Dutch physicist Pieter Zeeman passed away. Zeeman shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Hendrik Lorentz for his discovery of the Zeeman effect, the effect of splitting a spectral line into several components in the presence of a static magnetic field. Pieter Zeeman witnessed the Aurora borealis in the Netherlands during 1883 and created a drawing of the phenomenon which was published in Nature. During the same year, Zeeman…
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Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff and Physical Chemistry

Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff and Physical Chemistry

On August 30, 1852, Dutch physical chemist Jacobus Henricus Van ‘t Hoff was born. Van ‘t Hoff was the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His pioneering work helped found the modern theory of chemical affinity, chemical equilibrium, chemical kinetics, and chemical thermodynamics. He formulated the theory of the tetrahedral carbon atom and laid the foundations of stereochemistry and predicted the correct structures of allenes and cumulenes as well as their…
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Christiaan Eijkman and the Cause of Beriberi

Christiaan Eijkman and the Cause of Beriberi

On August 11, 1858, Dutch physiologist Christiaan Eijkman was born. Eijkman‘s demonstrated that beriberi is caused by poor diet led to the discovery of antineuritic vitamins (thiamine). Together with Sir Frederick Hopkins, he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Christiaan Eijkman was born at Nijkerk, Netherlands as the seventh child of Christiaan Eijkman, the headmaster of a local school, and Johanna Alida Pool. In 1859, the Eijkman family moved to…
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Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn and the Rotation of the Milky Way

Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn and the Rotation of the Milky Way

On June 18, 1922, Dutch astronomer Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn passed away. Kapteyn carried out extensive studies of the Milky Way and was the discoverer of evidence for galactic rotation. He used photography and statistical methods in determining the motions and spatial distribution of stars, the first major step after the works of William and John Herschel. Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn was born on 19 January 1851 in Barneveld,in the Dutch province of Gelderland,…
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Willem Johan Kolff and Artificial Organs

Willem Johan Kolff and Artificial Organs

On February 14, 1911, Dutch-American physician and biomedical engineer Willem Johan Kolff was born. Kolff is considered to be the Father of Artificial Organs, and is regarded as one of the most important physicians of the 20th century. He made his major discoveries in the field of dialysis for kidney failure during the Second World War. Willem Johan Kolff was born in Leiden, Netherlands, as the eldest of a family of 5…
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The Clinical Teaching of Herman Boerhaave

The Clinical Teaching of Herman Boerhaave

On December 31, 1668, Dutch botanist, chemist, Christian humanist and physician Herman Boerhaave was born. Boerhaave is regarded as the founder of clinical teaching and of the modern academic hospital and is sometimes referred to as “the father of physiology”. He is best known for demonstrating the relation of symptoms to lesions and, in addition, he was the first to isolate the chemical urea from urine. He was the first physician that…
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George Uhlenbeck and the Electron Spin

George Uhlenbeck and the Electron Spin

On December 6, 1900, Dutch-American theoretical physicist George Eugene Uhlenbeck was born. Together with with Samuel A. Goudsmit, Uhlenbeck proposed the concept of electron spin (Jan 1925) – a fourth quantum number which was a half integer. George Uhlenbeck was the son of Eugenius Uhlenbeck, who served in the Dutch East Indian Army, and Anne Beeger Uhlenbeck, the daughter of a Dutch major general. He attended the Hogere Burgerschool (High School) in…
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Christophorus Buys Ballot and the Weather Systems

Christophorus Buys Ballot and the Weather Systems

On October 10, 1837, Dutch chemist and meteorologist Christophorus Buys Ballot was born. Buys Ballot is the namesake for Buys Ballot’s law and the Buys Ballot table. Buys Ballot showed that northern hemisphere winds circulate counter-clockwise around low pressure areas and clockwise around high pressure areas. Christophorus Henricus Didericus Buys Ballot was the son of Anthony Jacobus Buys Ballot, pastor to Kloetinge and Geertruida Françoise Lix-Raaven, born in Kloetinge, Netherlands. He attended the Gymnasium at…
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Regnier De Graaf – Creator of Experimental Physiology

Regnier De Graaf – Creator of Experimental Physiology

On July 30, 1641, Dutch physician and anatomist Regnier de Graaf was born. De Graaf made key discoveries in reproductive biology as e.g. he discovered the follicles of the ovary (known as Graafian follicles), in which the individual egg cells are formed (1672) and also published on male reproductive organs (1668). He was also important for his studies on pancreatic juice (1663) and on the reproductive organs of mammals. He is considered…
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