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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. Early Life 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…
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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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Govaert Wendelen – the Ptolemy of Renaissance

Govaert Wendelen – the Ptolemy of Renaissance

On June 6, 1580, Flemish astronomer Govaert Wendelin (Godefroy Wendelen), Latinized Godefridus Wendelinus was born. Wendelen also was known as the Ptolemy of his time. Despite going against the tenets of his Church, he was an audacious proponent of the Copernican theory that the planets orbit around the Sun. He made more accurate measurements of the distance to the sun as previously made by Aristachus (2,000 years earlier). Godefroy Wendelin was born…
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Pieter van Musschenbroek and the Leyden Jar

Pieter van Musschenbroek and the Leyden Jar

On March 14, 1692, Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek was born. Musschenbroek is credited with the invention of the first capacitor in 1746: the Leyden jar. He performed pioneering work on the buckling of compressed struts. Musschenbroek was also one of the first scientists (1729) to provide detailed descriptions of testing machines for tension, compression, and flexure testing. Pieter van Musschenbroek was born in Leiden, Holland, Dutch Republic. His father Johannes van…
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Jan Swammerdam – Dutch Naturalist and Microscopist

Jan Swammerdam – Dutch Naturalist and Microscopist

On February 12, 1637, Dutch biologist and microscopist Jan Swammerdam was born. He was one of the first people to use the microscope in dissections, and his techniques remained useful for hundreds of years. Swammerdam’s work on insects demonstrated that the various phases during the life of an insect — egg, larva, pupa, and adult — are different forms of the same animal. In 1658, he was the first to observe and describe red…
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Eugene Dubois and the Discovery of the Java Man

Eugene Dubois and the Discovery of the Java Man

On January 28, 1858, Dutch paleoanthropologist and geologist Eugene Dubois was born. Dubois earned worldwide fame for his discovery of Pithecanthropus erectus (later redesignated Homo erectus), or Java Man. Although hominid fossils had been found and studied before, Dubois was the first anthropologist to embark upon a purposeful search for them. Early Years Eugene Dubois was born in Eijsden, near Limburg, Netherlands, where his father, Jean Dubois, was an apothecary, later the…
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Scaliger and the Science of Chronology

Scaliger and the Science of Chronology

On January 21, 1609, French religious leader and scholar Joseph Justus Scaliger passed away. He is referred to as being on of the founders of the science of chronology, expanding the notion of classical history from Greek and ancient Roman history to include Persian, Babylonian, Jewish and ancient Egyptian history. Brief Biography Joseph Justus Scaliger was born on August 5, 1540 at Agen on the Garonne, France, the tenth child of famous Italian…
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Jan Baptiste van Helmont – The Founder of Pneumatic Chemistry

Jan Baptiste van Helmont – The Founder of Pneumatic Chemistry

On January 12, 1580, Flemish chemist, physiologist, and physician Jan Baptist van Helmont was born. Can Helmont worked during the years just after Paracelsus and is sometimes considered to be “the founder of pneumatic chemistry“. Van Helmont is remembered today largely for his ideas on spontaneous generation and his introduction of the word “gas” (from the Greek word chaos) into the vocabulary of scientists. Jan Baptiste van Helmont was born in Brussels…
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