|Born||10 December 1588|
|Died||19 May 1637|
|Notable students||René Descartes|
Isaac Beeckman (10 December 1588 – 19 May 1637) was a Dutch philosopher and scientist, who, through his studies and contact with leading natural philosophers, may have "virtually given birth to modern atomism".
The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term "philosopher" comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning "lover of wisdom". The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.
A scientist is someone who conducts scientific research to advance knowledge in an area of interest.
Beeckman was born in Middelburg, Zeeland, to a strong Calvinistic family, which had fled from the Spanish-controlled Southern Netherlands a few years before. He had a strong early education in his home town and went on to study theology, literature and mathematics in Leiden. Upon his return to Middelburg he could not find a position as a minister, due to clashing ideas of his father and the local church, and decided to follow his father in the candle making business, setting up his own company in Zierikzee.While trying to improve on the candle making process, he also involved himself in other projects, like creating water conduits and doing meteorological observations. In 1616 he sold the business to his apprentice and went to study medicine in Caen, where he graduated in 1618. On his return, he became an assistant rector in Utrecht. On April 1620 he married Cateline de Cerf, who he knew from Middelburg, and with whom he would have seven children. From 1620 to 1627 he taught at the Latin school in Rotterdam, where he founded a "Collegium Mechanicum", or Technical College. From 1627 until his death at the age of 48 he was rector of the Latin school in Dordrecht.
Zeeland is the westernmost and least populous province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and peninsulas and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. Its area is about 2,930 square kilometres (1,130 sq mi), of which almost 1,140 square kilometres (440 sq mi) is water, and it has a population of about 380,000.
The Southern Netherlands, also called the Catholic Netherlands, was the part of the Low Countries largely controlled by Spain (1556–1714), later Austria (1714–1794), and occupied then annexed by France (1794–1815). The region also included a number of smaller states that were never ruled by Spain or Austria: the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, the Imperial Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy, the County of Bouillon, the County of Horne and the Princely Abbey of Thorn. The Southern Netherlands were part of the Holy Roman Empire until the whole area was annexed by Revolutionary France.
Leiden is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. The municipality of Leiden had a population of 123,856 in August 2017, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with 206,647 inhabitants. The Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) further includes Katwijk in the agglomeration which makes the total population of the Leiden urban agglomeration 270,879, and in the larger Leiden urban area also Teylingen, Noordwijk, and Noordwijkerhout are included with in total 348,868 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Oude Rijn, at a distance of some 20 kilometres from The Hague to its south and some 40 km (25 mi) from Amsterdam to its north. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) lies just to the northeast of Leiden.
Beeckman's most influential teachers in Leiden probably were Snellius and Simon Stevin. He himself was a teacher to Johan de Witt and a teacher and friend of René Descartes. Beeckman had met the young Descartes in November 1618 in Breda, where Beeckman then lived and Descartes was then garrisoned as a soldier. It is said that they met when both were looking at a placard that was set up in the Breda marketplace, detailing a mathematical problem to be solved. Descartes asked Beeckman to translate the problem from Dutch to French.In their following meetings Beeckman interested Descartes in his corpuscularian approach to mechanical theory, and convinced him to devote his studies to a mathematical approach to nature. In 1619, Descartes dedicated one of his first tractati to him, the Compendium Musicae. When Descartes returned to the Dutch Republic in the autumn of 1628, Beeckman also introduced him to many of Galileo's ideas. In 1629 they fell out over a dispute concerning whether Beeckman had helped Descartes with some of his mathematical discoveries. In October 1630, Descartes wrote a long and harshly abusive letter, apparently meant to crush Beeckman psychologically, in which he declared himself never to have been influenced by Beeckman. However, and despite a few other such fallings-outs, they remained in contact until Beeckman's death in 1637.
Rudolph Snel van Royen, Latinized as Rudolph Snellius, was a Dutch linguist and mathematician who held appointments at the University of Marburg and the University of Leiden. Snellius was an influence on some of the leading political and intellectual forces of the Dutch Golden Age.
Simon Stevin, sometimes called Stevinus, was a Flemish mathematician, physicist and military engineer. He made various contributions in many areas of science and engineering, both theoretical and practical. He also translated various mathematical terms into Dutch, making it one of the few European languages in which the word for mathematics, wiskunde, was not a loanword from Greek but a calque via Latin.
Johan de Witt or Jan de Witt, heer van Zuid- en Noord-Linschoten, Snelrewaard, Hekendorp and IJsselveere was a major figure in Dutch politics in the mid-17th century, when its flourishing sea trade in a period of globalisation made the United Provinces a leading European power during the Dutch Golden Age. De Witt controlled the Netherlands political system from around 1650 until shortly before his death in 1672, working with various factions from nearly all the major cities, especially his hometown, Dordrecht, and the hometown of his wife, Amsterdam.
Beeckman did not publish his ideas, but he had influenced many scientists of his time. Since the beginning of his studies he did keep an extensive journal ("Journaal" in Dutch), from which his brother published some of his observations in 1644. However, this went basically unnoticed. The scope of Beeckman's ideas did not come to life until the science historian Cornelis de Waard rediscovered the Journaal in 1905, and published it in volumes between 1939 and 1953.
Cornelis de Waard was a Dutch math teacher and a historian who specialized in researching science and mathematics of the seventeenth century.
Aristotle was a philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum and the Peripatetic school of philosophy and Aristotelian tradition. Along with his teacher Plato, he is considered the "Father of Western Philosophy". His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him, and it was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.
In chemistry and physics, atomic theory is a scientific theory of the nature of matter, which states that matter is composed of discrete units called atoms. It began as a philosophical concept in ancient Greece and entered the scientific mainstream in the early 19th century when discoveries in the field of chemistry showed that matter did indeed behave as if it were made up of atoms.
Inertia is the resistance, of any physical object, to any change in its velocity. This includes changes to the object's speed, or direction of motion.
The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental, is defined as the lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. In music, the fundamental is the musical pitch of a note that is perceived as the lowest partial present. In terms of a superposition of sinusoids, the fundamental frequency is the lowest frequency sinusoidal in the sum. In some contexts, the fundamental is usually abbreviated as f0, indicating the lowest frequency counting from zero. In other contexts, it is more common to abbreviate it as f1, the first harmonic.
Since the fundamental is the lowest frequency and is also perceived as the loudest, the ear identifies it as the specific pitch of the musical tone [harmonic spectrum]....The individual partials are not heard separately but are blended together by the ear into a single tone.
Twine is a light string or strong thread composed of two or more smaller strands or yarns twisted, and then twisted together. More generally, the term can be applied to a cord.
A pump is a device that moves fluids, or sometimes slurries, by mechanical action. Pumps can be classified into three major groups according to the method they use to move the fluid: direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps.
In his time, he was considered to be one of the most educated men in Europe. For example, he had deeply impressed Mersenne, despite their opposing religious views,as well as Gassendi, who apparently had been turned by Beeckman to the philosophy of Epicurus (atomism). The latter even proclaimed, in a 1629 letter to Peiresc, that Beeckman was the greatest philosopher he had ever met.
René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years (1629–1649) of his life in the Dutch Republic after serving for a while in the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and the Stadtholder of the United Provinces. He is generally considered one of the most notable intellectual figures of the Dutch Golden Age.
The 17th century was the century that lasted from January 1, 1601, to December 31, 1700, in the Gregorian calendar. It falls into the Early Modern period of Europe and in that continent was characterized by the Baroque cultural movement, the latter part of the Spanish Golden Age, the Dutch Golden Age, the French Grand Siècle dominated by Louis XIV, the Scientific Revolution, and according to some historians, the General Crisis. The greatest military conflicts were the Thirty Years' War, the Great Turkish War, and the Dutch-Portuguese War. It was during this period also that European colonization of the Americas began in earnest, including the exploitation of the silver deposits, which resulted in bouts of inflation as wealth was drawn into Europe.
Marin Mersenne, Marin Mersennus or le Père Mersenne was a French polymath, whose works touched a wide variety of fields. He is perhaps best known today among mathematicians for Mersenne prime numbers, those which can be written in the form Mn = 2n − 1 for some integer n. He also developed Mersenne's laws, which describe the harmonics of a vibrating string, and his seminal work on music theory, Harmonie universelle, for which he is referred to as the "father of acoustics". Mersenne, an ordained priest, had many contacts in the scientific world and has been called "the center of the world of science and mathematics during the first half of the 1600s" and, because of his ability to make connections between people and ideas, "the post-box of Europe". He was also a member of the Minim religious order and wrote and lectured on theology and philosophy.
The mechanical philosophy is a natural philosophy describing the universe as similar to a large-scale mechanism. Mechanical philosophy is associated with the scientific revolution of Early Modern Europe. One of the first expositions of universal mechanism is found in the opening passages of Leviathan by Hobbes published in 1651.
The year 1637 in science and technology involved some significant events.
Zacharias Janssen was a Dutch spectacle-maker from Middelburg associated with the invention of the first optical telescope. Janssen is sometimes also credited for inventing the first truly compound microscope. However, the origin of the microscope, just like the origin of the telescope, is a matter of debate.
Breda is a city and municipality in the southern part of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Brabant. The name derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa.
Elisabeth of the Palatinate, also known as Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Elisabeth of the Palatinate, or Princess-Abbess of Herford Abbey, was the eldest daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and Elizabeth Stuart. Elisabeth of the Palatinate is a philosopher best known for her correspondence with René Descartes. She was critical of Descartes' dualistic metaphysics and her work anticipated the metaphysical concerns of later philosophers.
Jacob Golius born Jacob van Gool was an Orientalist and mathematician based at the University of Leiden in Netherlands. He is primarily remembered as an Orientalist. He published Arabic texts in Arabic at Leiden, and did Arabic-to-Latin translations. His best-known work is an Arabic-to-Latin dictionary, Lexicon Arabico-Latinum (1653), which he sourced for the most part from the Sihah dictionary of Al-Jauhari and the Qamous dictionary of Fairuzabadi.
Pieter de Carpentier was a Dutch administrator of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) who served as Governor-General there from 1623 to 1627. The Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia is named after him.
Martin (Maarten) van den Hove was a Dutch astronomer and mathematician. His adopted Latin name is a translation of the Dutch hof ("garden"), in Latin horta.
Sébastien Basson, Latinized as Sebastianus Basso, was a French physician and natural philosopher of the beginning of the seventeenth century. He was an early theorist of a matter theory based on both atoms and compounds. His natural philosophy draws on several currents of thought, including Italian Renaissance naturalism, alchemy and Calvinist theology. Basson was an atomist, who, independently from Isaac Beeckman, formed the concept of "molecule".
Henricus Reneri or Renerius was a Dutch philosopher.
Otto Heurnius was a Dutch physician, theologian and philosopher.
Paulus Aertsz van Ravesteyn was a Dutch printer who worked for local publishers, individuals and also published books himself. At his May 19, 1608, marriage to Elisabeth Sweerts in Amsterdam he is said to be a 21-year old typesetter from Dordrecht. Possibly he originated from North Brabant where his family owned land. His first own publication dates from 1611.
Caspar Sibelius, was a Dutch Protestant minister.
Klaas van Berkel is a Dutch historian, historian of science, and professor of Modern History at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, known from his work on the history of science in the Netherlands, particularly the work of Isaac Beeckman, Simon Stevin and Eduard Jan Dijksterhuis.