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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Cornelis Drebbel and the first navigatable Submarine

Cornelis Drebbel and the first navigatable Submarine

On November 7, 1633, Dutch innovator and inventor Cornelis Jacobszoon Drebbel passed away. Drebbel contributed to the development of measurement and control systems, optics and chemistry, but he is best known for having built the first navigatable submarine in 1620. Cornelis Drebbel was born in Alkmaar, Holland in 1572. After some years at the Latin school in Alkmaar, around 1587, he attended the Academy in Haarlem, also located in North-Holland.There, Drebbel became…
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Christiaan Huygens and the Pocket Watch

Christiaan Huygens and the Pocket Watch

On October 4, 1675, prominent Dutch mathematician and scientist 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. Youth and Education Christiaan Huygens was born on 14 April 1629 in…
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Henry Hudson’s Voyages in North America

Henry Hudson’s Voyages in North America

On September 11, 1609, English sea explorer and navigator Henry Hudson after having reached the estuary of the river that carries his name today, followed the river upstream sailing along Manhattan Island. Hudson explored the region around modern New York metropolitan area while looking for a western route to Asia while in the employment of the Dutch East India Company. He explored the river which eventually was named for him, and laid…
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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 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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Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Study of the Instinct

Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Study of the Instinct

On April 15, 1907, Dutch biologist, ornithologist, and Nobel Laureate Nikolaas Tinbergen was born. He studied the behavior of animals in their natural habitats and shared (with Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch) the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1973 for their discoveries concerning “organization and elicitation of individual and social behavior patterns.” Nikolaas Tinbergen was born in The Hague, Netherlands, as the third of five children of Dirk Cornelis…
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Charles de l’Écluse and the Dutch Tulips

Charles de l’Écluse and the Dutch Tulips

On April 4, 1609, Flemish doctor and pioneering botanist Charles de l’Écluse, L’Escluse, or with his Latin name Carolus Clusius passed away. He is considered perhaps the most influential of all 16th-century scientific horticulturists. He travelled and collected botanical information throughout Europe, and introduced new plants from outside Europe. In the history of gardening he is remembered not only for his scholarship but also for laying the foundations of Dutch tulip breeding…
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Anthony Fokker and his famous Aircrafts

Anthony Fokker and his famous Aircrafts

On December 23, 1939, Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Anton Herman Gerard “Anthony” Fokker passed away. He is most famous for the fighter aircraft he produced in Germany during the First World War. It is believed that at the age of about 16, Anthony Fokker witnessed his first airplane flight and his enthusiasm for aviation was awakened. He enrolled in a school in Germany that offered a course in aeronautics. He…
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Jan Ingenhousz and Photosynthesis

Jan Ingenhousz and 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. Jan Ingenhousz was born in Breda. He started his studies of medicine at the University of Leuven when he was 16 years old…
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