Record

Authorised form of nameHuygens; Christiaan (1629 - 1695); natural philosopher
Other forms of nameChristian
Other forms of surnameHuyghens
Dates1629 - 1695
NationalityDutch
Place of birthThe Hague, Netherlands, Europe
Date of birth14 April 1629
Place of deathThe Hague, Netherlands, Europe
Date of death8 July 1695
Research fieldPhysics
Mathematics
Astronomy
Optics
ActivityEducation:
Taught by his father; University of Leyden (1645-1647); Collegium Arausiacum [College of Orange] at Breda (1647-1649); University of Angers (LLD, 1655)
Career:
Travelled to Denmark in group of diplomats (1649); published 'Cyclometriae' (1651); published 'De Circuli Magnitudine' (1654); discovered the first moon of Saturn (1655); published 'De Ratiociniis in Ludo Aleae' on probability (1656); discovered the shape of the rings of Saturn (1656); patented first pendulum clock (1656) and continued to build them to determine longitude at sea; published 'Systema Saturnium' (1659) regarding the rings of Saturn; published 'Horologium Oscillatorium sive de motu pendulorum' (1673) on the theory of pendulum motion; travelled to London (1661); found error in Descartes' law on impact and worked on the collision of elastic bodies (1668); worked with Académie Royale des Sciences (1666-); published his work on the wave theory of light, 'Traité de la lumiere' (1678); travelled back to England (1689); started work on one of the earliest discussions of extraterrestrial life, 'Cosmotheoros' (1698)
Memberships:
Académie Royale des Sciences (1665; first foreigner to become a member)
Membership categoryOriginal Fellow
Date of election22/06/1663
Age at election34
Royal Society activityCommittee and panels:
Mechanical Committee (1664); Astronomical and Optical Committee (1664)
Other Royal Society activityFrequent correspondent to European natural philosophers; Regularly reported on and produced experiments on a wide variety of topics
RelationshipsParents: Constantijn Huygens, secretary to the Princes of Orange, and Suzanna van Baerle
Published worksRCN: 45579
RCN: 45581
RCN: 45577
RCN: 45583
RCN: 12928
RCN: 52397
General contextHuygens' contributions to astronomy, physics, and mathematics are vast and remained influential over centuries. Through his pursuits, he made acquaintances and formed friendships with many eminent natural philosophers of his age, including Gottfried Leibniz (FRS 1673), Robert Boyle (FRS 1660), and Isaac Newton (FRS 1672). While Huygens' work on dynamics and light were somewhat overshadowed by Newton's contemporaneous contributions, his study of rotating bodies and the pendulum remained of lasting importance. His work on gravity, however, was never quite taken seriously by his contemporaries.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library
Image

Huygens C, IM006097.jpg

SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DSB; Biographie Universelle
Authority:
Name from Hunter; altname from Bulloch's Roll
References:
D T Whiteside, 'The Prehistory of the Principia from 1664 to 1686' in NR 1991 vol 45 pp 11-61
H A M Snelders, 'Christiaan Huygens and Newton's Theory of Gravitation' in NR 1989 vol 43 pp 209-222
J H Leopold, 'Clockmaking in Britain and the Netherlands' in NR 1989 vol 43 pp 155-165
A R Hall, 'The Leeuwenhoek Lecture, 1988. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek 1632-1723' in NR 1989 vol 43 pp 249-273
D S Landes, 'The Wilkins Lecture, 1988. Hand and Mind in Time Measurement: the Contributions of Art and Science' in NR 1989 vol 43 pp 57-69
A R Hall, 'Chairman's Remarks' in NR 1989 vol 43 pp 97-98
A E Shapiro, 'Huygens' Traite de la Lumiere and Newton's Opticks: Pursuing and Eschewing Hypotheses' in NR 1989 vol 43 pp 223-247
E A Fellmann, 'The Principia and Continental Mathematicians' in NR 1988 vol 42 pp 13-34
Laurel Brodsley, Sir Charles Frank and John W Steeds, 'Prince Rupert's Drops' in NR 1986-87 vol 41 pp 1-26
A A Mills and R Hall, 'The Production of a Plane Surface. As Illustrated by Specula From Some Early Newtonian Telescopes' in NR 1982-83 vol 37 pp 147-166
Simon Schaffer, 'Halley's Atheism and the End of the World' in NR 1977-8 vol 32 pp 17-40
Marie Boas Hall, 'The Royal Society's Role in the Diffusion of Information in the Seventeenth Century' in NR 1974-5 vol 29 pp 173-192
Albert Van Helden, 'Christopher Wren's De Corpore Saturni' in NR 1968 vol 23 pp 213-229
E Faure-Fremiet, 'Les Origines de l'Academie des Sciences de Paris' in NR 1966 vol 21 pp 20-31
J E McGuire and P M Rattansi, 'Newton and the "Pipes of Pan"' in NR 1966 vol 21 pp 108-143
J A Lohne, 'Isaac Newton: the Rise of a Scientist 1661-1671' in NR 1965 vol 20 pp 125-139
E N da C Andrade, 'The Birth and Early Days of the Philosophical Transactions' in NR 1965 vol 20 pp 9-27
R K Bluhm, 'Henry Oldenburg, FRS (c 1615-1677)' in NR 1960 vol 15 pp 183-197
Angus Armitage, 'William Ball, FRS (1627-1690)' in NR 1960 vol 15 pp 167-172
H W Robinson, 'Gleanings from the Library - I. A Note on the Early Minutes' in NR 1938 vol 1 pp 92-95
S Mandelbrote, 'From Bremen to Pall Mall. Henry Oldenburg. Shaping The Royal Society, by M B Hall' in NR 2002 vol 56 pp 389-390
J S Rowlinson, 'Gases and liquids. How fluids unmix: discoveries by the school of Van der Waals and Kamerlingh Onnes, by J L Sengers' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 255-256
H Gest, 'The Discovery of Microorganisms by Robert Hooke and Antoni von Leeuwenhoek, Fellows of the Royal Society' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 187-201
S Van Damme, 'The Dutch Galileo? The Greatness of Huygens' Science. 'Huygens The man begind the principle' by C D Andriesse translated by Sally Miedema', in NR 2006 vol 60 pp 219-220
Notes:
The election date is Huygens' election date into the Society after the grant of the second charter in April 1663. All Fellows admitted in a two-month window after this charter, until 22 June 1663, are considered Original Fellows.
Various possible death dates: DSB gives 08 Jul 1695, index to BR gives 08 June 1695, BR gives 08 Jul 1693, Hunter gives 1695.
Virtual International Authority Filehttp://viaf.org/viaf/9894043
Royal Society codeNA8062
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
IM/002355Huygens, Christian2000
EL/H1/2Christian Huygens to Robert Moray15 July 1661
EL/H1/77Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg10 July 1673
EL/H1/32Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 18 July 1664
RBO/2i/69'A Description Of a New kind of Candlestick' by Christian Huygens2 September 1663
MM/11/27'Report of Warren De La Rue FRS on the proposal to remount the Object Glass of Huyghens'22 January 1855
EL/H1/21Copy of a letter from Christian Huygens2 September 1663
RBO/2i/54An experiment of Christian Huygens 'touching the Suspension of Water in a Bolt-head after the Receiver had been well exhausted' 8 July 1663
RBO/4/23'Anagrammata Propositionum XIV quae quam primum licebit explicanda' by Christian Huygens4 September 1669
DM/2/125Sheet of notes regarding the Huygens object-glassc.19th century
RBO/2ii/57'A Description of a New kind of Candlestick presented by Monsieur Huygens'2 September 1663
RBO/4/9'De Motu Corporum ex mutuo impulsu Hyopothesis' by Christian Huygens1669
RBC/2/27'A Description of a New kind of Candlestick presented by Monsieur Hugens September 2 1663 in French and Englished by the Secretary'1663
RBO/2ii/43'An Accompt of the ground of a Waterpitt boared at Amsterdam presented to the Society by Mons Huygens'24 June 1663
RBO/4/14A Cypher of Mons. Christian Huygens de Zulichem 4 February 1669
RBO/2i/52'An Account of the Ground of a water-pit boared at Amsterdam' by Christian Huygens24 June 1663
CLP/4i/27Paper, regarding Christiaan Huygens' work on the 'phenomena of rarefaction' by unknown author[1660-1679]
MM/14/47Letter from J Drummond Robertson,Torquay, to William Douglas28 February 1930
MM/14/50Letter from J Drummond Robertson., Torquay, to William Douglas30 March 1930
MM/14/52Letter from Alexander Miller, Edinburgh, to William Douglas30 April 1930
MM/14/53Letter from JA Vollgraff, Leyden, to the Royal Society28 September 1947
IM/002354Huygens, Christian2000
IM/005647Huygens, Christian2003
LBO/1/7Copy extract of letter from Christian Huygens, the Hague, to Robert Moray 24 June 1661
NLB/13/419Copy letter from Theodore E James, to the Netherlands Charge d'Affaires29 August 1896
NLB/13/412Copy letter from Theodore E James, to Michael Foster24 August 1896
NLB/13/416Copy letter from Michael Foster, to the Netherlands Charge d'Affaires, 118 Eaton Square, Upper Belgrave Street, S.W. 26 August 1896
NLB/13/420Copy letter from Theodore E James, to W Crouch, Grafton House, Wanstead27 August 1896
NLB/13/417Copy letter from Michael Foster, to the Secretary, Huygens Commission, the Hague26 August 1896
NLB/15/485Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Johannes Bosscha, Haarlem, Holland13 October 1897
CLP/24/8Paper, 'Concerning the controversy between Monsieur Huygens and James Gregory' by John Collins17th century
NLB/62/32Copy letter from Frederick Alexander Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to Dr. D. V. Korteweg; Amsterdam21 November 1921
NLB/59/290Copy letter from Edwin Deller, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to Dr. D. V. Korteweg; Amsterdam30 August 1920
CLP/1/13/2Diagram, Alhazen's problem by Christian Huygens at Paris26 June 1669
CLP/3i/45/7Diagram, the motion of bodies resulting from impact by Christian Huygens[1668]
CLP/1/15/2Diagrams, showing pendulum equations by [William Brouncker][1662]
CLP/3i/45/5Diagram, the motion of bodies resulting from impact by Christian Huygens[1668]
CLP/7i/31Paper, concerning the dispute between Huygens and M Renau[c1700]
CLP/3i/45/2Diagram, the motion of bodies resulting from impact by Christian Huygens[1668]
CLP/3i/45/6Diagram, the motion of bodies resulting from impact by Christian Huygens[1668]
CLP/1/15/1Manuscript, regarding a pendulum experiment by [William Brouncker]22 January 1662
CLP/1/13/1Manuscript, 'Problema alhasein' [alhasein problem] by Christian Huygens at Paris26 June 1669
CLP/1/15Paper, regarding a pendulum experiment by [William Brouncker][1662]
CLP/4i/23/1Drawing, modification of an air pump by Christian Huygens28 January 1663
CLP/4i/23Paper, figure of 'pneumaticall engine' by Christian Huygens28 January 1663
CLP/7i/31/2Diagram for manoeuvering ships by Robert Hooke[c1700]
CLP/7i/31/1Manuscript, concerning the dispute between Huygens and M Renau[c1700]
CLP/8i/51/2Copy diagram, Saturn by Christian Huygens[c17th Century]
CLP/3i/45/4Diagram, the motion of bodies resulting from impact by Christian Huygens[1668]
EL/H1/58Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to John Wallis13 November 1668
EL/H1/12Christian Huygens to Robert Moraynd
CLP/9i/10Paper, an account of the ground of a waterpit bored at Amsterdam by Christian Huygens24 June 1663
RBC/2/13'An Account of the Ground of a Waterpitt Boared at Amsterdam presented to the Society' by Christian Huygens24 June 1663
EL/H1/28Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray 12 March 1664
EL/M1/25Robert Moray, dated at Whitehall, to Christian Huygens15 February 1669
EL/H1/27Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray 20 February 1664
EL/H1/22Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray 11 November 1663
EL/H1/17Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 20 December 1662
MOB/016Aerial telescope parts by Christiaan Huygens1691
NLB/13/434Copy letter from Theodore E James, to Professor Michael Foster7 September 1896
NLB/60/828Copy letter from Francis Alexander Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to S. B. Gaythorpe Esquire; 3 Prospect Road, Barrow-in-Furness12 April 1921
NLB/60/877Copy letter from Francis Alexander Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to S. B. Gaythorpe Esquire; 3 Prospect Road, Barrow-in-Furness20 April 1921
EL/A/13Partial translation of a letter, from Adrian Auzout to Henry Oldenburg1666
CLP/3i/45/3Diagram, the motion of bodies resulting from impact by Christian Huygens[1668]
CLP/3i/46Cyphers, two cyphers by Christian Huygens and Chr [Christpher] Wren[1669]
EL/H1/74Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg27 September 1672
CLP/3i/54Paper, 'Animadversiones in novam theoriam motus a viris Dno Christophoro Wren et Dno Christiano Hugenio' ['Amendments to the new theory of motion of Christopher Wren and Christian Huygens'] by Francis Willughby[1669]
NLB/61/407Copy letter from Francis Alexander Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to S. B. Gaythorpe Esquire; 3 Prospect Road, Barrow-in-Furness2 July 1921
CLP/1/11/6Diagram, erroneous diagram for Brouncker's paper on the pendulum by Christopher Wren[1669]
PT/5/16/5Plate, copy of a nebula observed by Huygens in 1656 by unknown artist[1811]
CLP/2/19Paper, regarding telescopes invented before 1609 by [John] Eames[1726]
CLP/3i/10Translation, 'A description of a new kind of candle-stick' by Christian Huygens2 September 1663
CLP/3i/56Paper, 'Anagrammata propositionum XIV' by Christian Huygens4 September 1669
MC/1/351Draft letter from [Dr. Peter Mark Roget, Secretary of the Royal Society], to Rev. Thomas John Hussey, Rectory at Hayes 9 December 1831
MC/1Volume 1 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1800-1831
EL/H1/80Christian Huygens to Henry Oldenburg15 May 1674
EL/H1/59Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray30 March 1669
EL/H1/29Letter from Christian Huygens, dated at Paris1664
EL/H1/30Christian Huygens, dated at Calais, to Robert Moray 12 June 1664
EL/H1/19Partial translation of a letter from Christian Huygens to Robert Moray 1663
EL/H1/81Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg30 January 1675
EL/H1/6Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray30 December 1661
EL/H1/25Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray 19 December 1663
EL/H1/84Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg21 June 1675
CLP/1/15/3Diagrams, illustrating pendulum curve by [William Brouncker][1662]
EL/H1/63Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg29 May 1669
EL/H1/24Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray 9 December 1663
EL/H1/79Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to John Wallis10 July 1673
EL/H1/23Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray 18 November 1663
CLP/1/22Extract, 'An answer to Monsieur Huygens etc' by [James] Gregorie[1660s]
CLP/1/31Copy letter, regarding Christian Huygens' work, from [James Gregorie] to the publisher1668
EL/H1/86Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg10 August 1675
CLP/1/13Paper, 'Problema alhasein' [alhasein problem] by Christian Huygens at Paris26 June 1669
EL/H1/68Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg22 January 1670
EL/H1/54Transcription of a letter from Christian Huygens to Robert Moray 1665
EL/H1/41Transcription of a letter from Christian Huygens to Robert Moray 1664
EL/H1/87Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg12 October 1675
EL/H1/31Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 27 June 1664
EL/H1/26Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray January 1664
EL/H1/20Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Robert Moray 1 June 1663
EL/H1/8Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray3 February 1662
EL/H1/61Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg5 January 1669
EL/A/24Letter, from Joachim d' Alence to Henry Oldenburg, dated at Paris4 January 1676
EL/H1/51Partial transcription of a letter from Christian Huygens to Robert Moray 1665
EL/H1/45Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 6 February 1665
EL/H1/10Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray24 February 1662
EL/H1/43Transcription of a letter from Christian Huygens to Robert Moray1665
EL/H1/3Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray1 August 1661
EL/H1/88Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg21 November 1675
EL/W2/8John Wallis, dated at London, to Christian Huygens30 May 1673
EL/H1/47Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 6 March 1665
EL/H1/49Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 10 April 1665
CLP/3i/45Paper, 'De motu corporum ex mutuo impulsu' ['On the motion of bodies resulting from impact'] by [Christian] Huygens[1668]
CLP/3i/45/1Manuscript, 'De motu corporum ex mutuo impulsu' ['On the motion of bodies resulting from impact'] by [Christian] Huygens[1668]
EL/H1/48Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 27 March 1665
EL/H1/50Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 29 May 1665
EL/H1/69Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Henry Oldenburg15 October 1670
EL/H1/57Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg13 November 1668
EL/H1/83Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg8 June 1675
EL/H1/1Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray24 June 1661
EL/H1/44Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 16 January 1665
EL/H1/52Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 18 September 1665
EL/H1/16Extract of a letter from Christian Huygens to Robert Moray 1662
EL/O2/153Henry Oldenburg, dated at London, to Christian Huygens11 March 1675
EL/H1/36Extract of a letter from Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 1664
EL/H1/38Translation of a letter from Christian Huygens to Robert Moray 1664
EL/H1/85Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg11 July 1675
EL/H1/7Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray4 January 1662
EL/H1/42Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 2 January 1665
EL/H1/71Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg13 February 1672
EL/H1/76Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg10 February 1673
EL/H1/4Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray16 September 1661
EL/H1/75Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg14 January 1673
EL/H1/78Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg4 June 1673
EL/H1/5Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray4 November 1661
EL/H1/14Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray18 August 1662
EL/H1/15Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray1 December 1662
EL/H1/53Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 24 December 1665
EL/H3/28Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Constantin Huygens17 August 1674
EL/H1/66Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg4 September 1669
EL/H1/62Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg6 February 1669
EL/H1/65Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg10 August 1669
EL/H1/60Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg30 March 1669
EL/H1/39Transcription of a letter from Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray1664
EL/H1/33Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 8 August 1664
EL/H1/67Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg30 October 1669
EL/O2/114Henry Oldenburg, dated at London, to Christian Huygens2 June 1673
EL/H1/55Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 9 April 1666
EL/H1/73Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg1 July 1672
EL/H1/72Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg9 April 1672
EL/H1/64Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg26 June 1669
EL/O2/120Henry Oldenburg, dated at London, to Christian Huygens23 June 1673
EL/H1/35Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray 29 August 1664
EL/H1/11Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray14 July 1662
EL/O1/87Henry Oldenburg, dated at London, to Christian Huygens16 November 1668
EL/H1/70Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Henry OldenburgOctober 1670
EL/H1/82Christian Huygens, dated at Paris, to Henry Oldenburg20 February 1675
EL/H1/9Christian Huygens, dated at the Hague, to Robert Moray10 February 1662
RBO/4/21'Animadversiones in novam Theoriam Motus' of Christopher Wren and Christian Huygens1669
EL/A/43Letter, from Fremont d' Ablancourt to (addressee unnamed)17 April 1693
EL/B1/11Letter, from William Brouncker to Christiaan Huygens23 June 1673
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