A concise description of


History - Mystics & Writers - Painters - Sculptors & Arcitects - Musicians - Scientists - Links

Comments and suggestions


Jan Yperman (also Johannes, Jehan, Jean, John, Ypres c. 1270 - c.1330)

This "Father of surgery" attended courses in Bologna and Paris. He was appointed surgeon at the city of Ypres in 1304. He wrote, in Dutch, two important treatises on medecine: "Medicine boeck"  (copy Leiden 1351) and "Cyrurgie boeck" (c. 1328).

Hendrik Bate van Mechelen (also Heinrich Bate von Mecheln, Henry, Henri Bate from Mechlin, Mechelen c. 1270 - ?) 

Henry was canon and chanter of Saint-Lambert in Liège before 1289 and master of arts in Paris. He spent June to October of 1292 in Orvieto translating astological works while on a mission for the pope. He completed his Speculum divinorum et quorundamnaturalium between 1285 and 1303.

   Regnier Gemma Frisius (Dokkum, Holland 1508 - Leuven, 1555)

He was a native of Friesland, a coastal province in the northern Netherlands, which explains his nickname of Frisius. He was educated at the University of Louvain, receiving a medical degree. He became the leading theoretical mathematician in the Low Countries and became professor of medicine and mathematics at the University of Louvain. He was also a practicing physician in Louvain.

Frisius applied his mathematical expertise to geography, astronomy and map making. In Louvain he cooperated with his student Gerardus Mercator and with the engraver and goldsmith Gaspar à Myrica in the construction of maps, globes and astronomical instruments.

He wrote De Principiis Astronomiae Cosmographicae (Leuven, 1530). Chapter 19 of this work describes, for the first time, how the longitude of a place may be found using a clock to determine the difference in local and absolute times. In a second edition of the work three years later he added some notes about finding the longitude at sea, the first time anyone had attacked the problem. It is worth noting that although there were many methods of finding longitude proposed in the 250 years following
Gemma Frisius's work, ultimately the methods he proposed were to become the solution to finding the longitude at sea.

He described the theory of trigonometric surveying in the 1533 edition of De Principiis Astronomiae Cosmographicae and in particular he was the first to triangulation as a method of accurately locating places. In 1534 he wrote . His work on astronomy (Tractatus de Annulo Astronomicae, Leuven 1534) led him to note correctly that comets displayed a proper motion against the background stars. He also invented a new astrolabe which he described in De Astrolabio which was published in 1556, after his death. (more by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson)

   Gerardus Mercator (orig. Gerhard Kremer, 1512-1594),

He was born to German parents, living at Rupelmonde (central Flanders). Like many other intellectuals of his time, very early in his life he Latinized his name, which meant 'merchant'.

His uncle Gisbert sent him to school at 's Hertogenbosch (now Holland) at the House of the Brethren of the Common Life, probably as preparation to enter the priesthood. In 1530, entered University of Louvain, and his principal studies were philosophy and theology. He studied in Leuven under Gemma Frisius.

In 1537 he produced his first map.

In 1544 he fell victim to the Inquisition, partly due to his Protestant beliefs (like most of Flemish intellectuals) and partly due to suspicions aroused by his wide travels in search of data for his maps. He was fortunate to be released after seven months with the charges of heresy lifted, and head and limbs intact. In 1552 he moved to Duisburg (now Germany) to evade religious persecution, and became a mapmaker and lecturer at the University of Duisburg. His map of Europe (published in 1554) was the best of its kind for many decades. He produced a map of the British Isles in 1564 and in the same year was made court cosmographer to Duke William of Cleve.

Mercator was the first mapmaker to cut up maps and bind them inside boards, later coining the term 'atlas' to refer to such collections of maps. He is best-known to us today for his celebrated cylindrical world map projection, first used in 1569, which enabled navigators to plot a long course in straight lines. One of the most revolutionary inventions in the history of cartography, Mercator's projection (which used straight lines to indicate latitude and longitude) has greatly influenced our image of the world.

Mercator's great Atlas (begun in 1569), in which he sought to describe the creation and history of the world, was printed in its unfinished state by his son in 1595. (more, more, more)

Andreas Vesalius (orig. Andries van Wesel, 1514-1564)

Anatomist and physician widely considered the father of anatomy.

The son of a celebrated apothecary, he attended the University of Leuven and later the University of Paris, where he studied medicine from 1533 to 1536, showing a special interest in anatomy. He received his M.D. in Padua in 1537, and took on a lectureship in anatomy where he performed anatomical demonstrations, including dissections, which encouraged him to question the authority of his classical predecessors -- dissection of human cadavers was a violation of Roman and Greek law. In 1540, this first-hand experience led him to break definitively with the theories of Galen.

In 1543 he published his De Humani Corporis Fabrica ("On the Structure of the Human Body", 7 volumes, 1543, published in Basel, Switzerland, with many of
the fine engravings rendered by Jan van Calcar, a pupil of Titian) the first accurate book on human anatomy, notable for its excellent descriptions and illustrations of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. His empirical approach to anatomy made him the first to challenge Aristotle's naming the heart the seat of the personality.

Vesalius's dissection of human bodies brought upon him the death sentence for grave-robbing under the Inquisition, a penalty commuted only upon his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On the voyage home in 1564, he died in a shipwreck off of the island of Zacynthus.(more)

   Jan de Wier (also Johann Weyer and Ioannes Wierus, Cleve on the Maas 1515 - Tecklenburg1588)

The first traces of modern psychiatry emerged with the Flemish physician Jan de Wier. He studied in 's Hertogenbosch, Antwerpen (where he was a student of the occultist Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim), Louvain, Bonn, Paris and Orléans. He started a medical practice in Arnhem, now Holland.

He left the Netherlands for his Reformistic ideas, and went to Basel, Switzerland, where he published under his Germanized name Johann Weyer. He wrote one of the first good handbooks of psychiatry, "De praestigiis daemonum" ("About the activities of devils", Basel 1563), in which he refuted that the mental ill were possessed by devils. He advocated a very humanistic approach for diagnosis and treatment, and in fact described the principles of modern psychotherapy and family therapy.

His Praestigiis Daemonum was basically a point-by-point rebuttal of the hateful witch hunter's handbook, Malleus Maleficarum. His book includes interesting reports of Faust, Agrippa, and Trithemius from a contemporary witness. Sigmund Freud calls the Praestigiis Daemonum one of the ten most significant books of all time, and some psychoanalytical research points to an influence of Wier's ideas on Freud's concepts.

He was a fervent opponent to the concepts and methods of the inquisition. He elaborated a classification of mental illnesses, very close to modern views (organic syndromes with epilepsy, toxic psychoses and senile dementia, anxiety and hysteria, affective disorders, and paranoia with hallucinations and delusions). His concepts, which elicited fervent opposition from priests, judges and lawyers, breathed the same inspiration of the later great contributions to psychotherapy, but fell into oblivion by the progression of the dualistic rationalistic way of thinking, promulgated by Descartes and others. (more) (more)

   Junius Rembert Dodoens (alias Rembertus Dodonaeus, Malines 1517 - Leiden 1585)

He was a natural child of a physician in Malines, from Frisian origin but educated in Louvain. He studied at Malines, then medicine at Louvain (where he met Vesalius and Mercator) and visited medical schools in France, Italy and Germany. He was appointed as city physician in Malines (1548 tot 1575). Due to the Spanish repression he left for Vienna, to become court physician to Maximillian II, and eventually, in 1582, accepted to become professor of Botany at the University of Leiden.

He published books on medicine, botany and cosmography. But his interest in the medical aspects of botany led him to write, in Dutch,  a herbal entitled Cruydeboeck (Book of Herbs, 1554, the second book of the famous Plantijn publishing house in Antwerp). It was translated in many languages, including French (Clusius, Histoire des Plantes, 1557), English (A Niewe Herball, or, Historie of Plantes: Wherein is Contayned the Whole Discourse and Perfect Description of All Sortes of Herbes and Plantes, Their Divers & Sundry Kindes, and That Not Onely of Those Whiche are Here Growyng in This Our Countrie of Englande, but of All Others Also of Forrayne Realmes Commonly Used in Physicke. First set foorth in Doutche or Almaigne tongue by that learned D. Rembert Dodoens and nowe first translated out of French into English, by Henry Lyte. London, 1578). During two centuries this book was the leading publication in botany, only to be replaced by the work of Linnaeus (Sweden, 1707-1778). In 1583 he published 'Stirpium historiae Pemptades sex sive libri XXX', a masterwork, that still in 1792 was translated into Japanese by Umeda Seikichi (Ensei Konzo Ranyo, Synopsis of the European botany). (more)

  Joannes Stradanus (also Johannes, Jan van der Straet or Straeten, Bruges 1523 - Venice, Italy1605)

Stradanus was born in Bruges in 1523, progressed in 1545 to master artist in Antwerp --then "the largest and most active port city in Europe" and the publication site of some of the earliest travel books-- after which he worked in Florence producing, before his death in 1605, a spectrum of religious art for wealthy patrons like Cosimo de Medici, as well as collaborating with the Galle family of engravers in Antwerp to produce several successful series of prints, sold as wall decorations and then bound into books, and aimed at middle-class audiences. (more) (more) (more)

The most unfamiliar,  America, (c. 1575-1580) is making fair bid to replace more familiar images of America's founding moment such as John Vanderlyn's Landing of Columbus (1844) as the heraldic shield for America, as the emblem of Discovery. Stradanus depicts a very European Americus Vespucci awakening and bestowing his name on a very naked Sleeping Beauty of a Native American. "Americus rediscovers America," the motto reads, "He called her but once, and thenceforth she was always awake." The image of a naked continent is virtually unique to America. In the early 1580s, a twenty-part series of realistic prints called Nova Reperta (New Discoveries) were published, celebrating Renaissance progress in art, science, and technology, to which were appended four allegorical works on explorations by Columbus and Magellan as well as Vespucci.

   Abraham Ortelius (Abram Ortel, Antwerp 1527-1598)

He was a rare book dealer in Antwerp. In 1564 he produced a world map that, influenced by Jacques Cartierís discoveries in 1534-41, showed the St. Lawrence River (Canada) as a gateway to the Pacific Ocean. Ortelius was generally more of a compiler and publisher of maps and atlases than a cartographer, although he is considered second only to Gerhard Mercator among Flemish cartographers.

Inspired by his friend Mercator and borrowing from him, Ortelius compiled a book of maps coordinated in size and content. This book, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570, "Theatre of the world"). Combining maps of uniform size and style with comprehensive text, the innovative Theatrum set the standard for the shape and contents of future atlases.

The Theatrum became the best-selling atlas of the sixteenth century, overshadowing Gerard Mercator's Atlas (1585). It was translated into Dutch (1571), German (1572), French (1572), Spanish (1588), English (1606) and Italian (1608).

Orteliusís ěAmericae sive Novi Orbisîó also shows ěAnianîó in the Northwest. Anian was a mythical kingdom that Marco Polo mentioned in his travel accounts. Before it appeared in America on this map, Anian was generally believed to be located off the coast of north Asia; curiously, Orteliusís world map, published just six years earlier, locates ěAnianî on the Asian mainland.

   Simon Stevin (Brugge 1548 - Den Haag, Holland, 1620)

Stevin was a bookkeeper in Antwerp, then a clerk in the tax office at Bruges. After this, fleeing to the North with so numerous other Flemish intellectuals, he moved to Leiden where he first attended the Latin school, then entered the University in 1583.

Simon Stevin was a mathematician and engineer who founded the science of hydrostatics by showing that the pressure exerted by a liquid upon a given surface depends on the height of the liquid and the area of the surface.

While quartermaster in the Northern Netherlandish Army, he invented a way of flooding the lowlands in the path of an invading army by opening selected sluices in dikes. He was an outstanding engineer who built windmills, locks and ports. He advised the Prince Maurits of Nassau on building fortifications for the war against Spain.

The author of 11 books, Stevin made significant contributions to trigonometry, geography, fortification, and navigation. In Wereldschrift (" World Script") he defended the sun centred system of Copernicus. Inspired by Archimedes, Stevin wrote important works on mechanics.

In his book De Beghinselen der Weeghconst in 1586 appears the theorem of the triangle of forces giving impetus to statics. In 1585 he published De Thiende ("The Thenth") in which he presented an elementary and thorough account of decimal fractions. Although he did not invent decimals (they had been used by the Arabs and the Chinese long before Stevin's time) he did introduce their use in mathematics. His notation was to be taken up by Clavius and Napier. Stevin states that the universal introduction of
decimal coinage, measures and weights would only be a matter of time. In his book Stelreghel meaning Algebra, he first used the notation +, - and .

In 1586 (3 years before Galileo) he reported that different weights fell a given distance in the same time. (more from J J O'Connor and E F Robertson) 

   Franciscus Aguilonius (also François d'Aguilon, Brussels 1567- Anwerp 1617)

This Jesuit published his Opticorum libri sex at Plantijn in Antwerp (1606-1613, with drawings by Rubens),and is mentioned by Goethe in his History of the Theory of Colours, (1808-1810. Zur Farbenlehre). Aguilonius conforms fully to the tradition of Aristotle, who situated the colors between black and white.

An attempt at transferring musical consonants into the area of colour formed the basis of his scale. To this end, Aguilonius did not concern himself with harmonies, but simply the relationship between the colours. As a physicist, he had introduced the expression "simple colours", meaning any colour from which an infinite number of other colours could arise through mixing.

While working on his optics textbook he collaborated with painter Paul Rubens, who at that time (1611) was painting Juno and Argus, his famous visual allegory. Included in the picture are a rainbow and a peacock, and many have wondered at the fullness and abundance of their colours. (more from Colorsystem)

   Jan Baptista van Helmont (Brussels 1577 - 1644)

He belonged to a good Flemish family. He personified the transition from medieval alchemy to modern science. He believed in the "philosopher's stone" and other mystical notions, yet he was a careful observer and a meticulous experimenter.

He was brought up by his uncle, and studied humanities at Louvain, but refused to take his degree of Master of Arts, claiming that it was a source of pride. The Jesuit order attracted him, but he did not enter it. He investigated the Stoic school of philosophy, and, to practice the evangelical counsel of poverty, he conveyed all his property to his sister. Urged on by a desire to relieve human suffering, he began to study medicine. He was appointed to the chair of surgery at Louvain.

The course of his studies was interfered with by a sickness, scabies, which affected him. The Galenists treated him with purgatives, not recognizing that it was a parasitical disease. This disgusted him with the Galenists; and he began his travels through England, France, Switzerland, and Italy, for the purpose of investigating the practice of medicine in these different countries. Eventually he was healed by an Italian charlatan, who used sulphur and mercury. Van Helmont practised as a physician and, instead of using plants, prepared his medicines in the laboratory of the day, in which the furnace, crucible, and retort were most largely employed; this made him known as the medicus per ignem.

He departed somewhat from the counsel of poverty by marrying Margaret van Ranst, an heiress of Brabant, and settled down at Vilvoorde near Brussels. He had now acquired a wide reputation in medicine, and had received his doctor's degree at Louvain as early as 1599.

His celebrity was now very great, and it is said that he was suspected of diabolism. A fantastic element appears in his work, largely due to the age in which he lived; but his scientific work is of a high order of merit. He investigated gases, notably carbon dioxide, which he discovered in various sources, and it was he who invented the name gas (from chaosor from geest, "ghost") to this family of substances. He applied the balance in his investigations. He discovered sulphuretted hydrogen in the human system, made hydrochloric gas, which he called gas of salt, explained the explosion of gun-powder on the theory of the expansion of gases, discovered or investigated sulphuric acid, nitric acid, and nitrogen oxide. He was one of the first to recognize the role played by acid in the gastric juice, attributing disease to an excess of the same.

Like all other (al)chemists of the time, he studied the transmutation of metals, naming his son Mercury, believing that he had succeeded in getting gold from mercury. His various books were published from 1622 to 1648, when a collection of his works was published posthumously by his son.

   Gregorius a Sancto Vincentio (also Gréroire de Saint-Vincent, probably from Spanish descent, Bruges 1584 - Ghent 1667)

He began his studies at the Jesuit College of Bruges. He went to Douai in the south of the County of Flanders (now northern France) in 1601, studying mathematics and philosophy there. He entered the Jesuit Order. He was a student of Clavius in Rome but he went to Louvain in 1612 to complete his theology.  From 1613 he began to teach, first at Brussels where he taught Greek. Then he continued to teach Greek at a number of places, 's-Hertogenbosch in 1614, and Kortrijk in 1615. The next year he was appointed chaplain to the Spanish troops stationed in the Netherlands which must have been a difficult job since this was the period of the revolt against Spain. Among his earlier works are Theses cometis (1619) and Theses mechanicae (1620).

From 1621 he spent four years teaching mathematics at Louvain. An early work, Theoremata Mathematica Scientiae Staticae, (Louvain, 1624), contains a clear account of the method of exhaustions. His work on the quadrature of the circle was written in the 1620s but his Jesuit superiors refused to let him publish it then. It contains the first presentation of the summation of infinite geometric series, a method of trisecting angles using infinite series, and the result Gregorius considered his most important: a method for squaring the circle. Alas, this result was incorrect, as Huygens first pointed out in 1651. Although this error destroyed a little bit his reputation, the work contains much of value which influenced Leibniz, Wallace, and Wren. The most important result for the calculus is a surprising connection between the natural logarithm and the rectangular hyperbola, namely the idea that we use today to define the logarithm.

He requested permission from Mutius Vitelleschi, general of the order, to have this manuscript published in Rome. In 1625 he was called to Rome to modify the work upon Christoph Grienberger's (Clavius' successor) request. He returned two years later with no settlement of the issue.

The following year he was called to Prague as the imperial confessor of Emperor Ferdinand II. He suffered a heart attack. Upon recovery he requested an assistant and received Theodor Moret. He continued his research until he fled to Vienna from the advancing Swedes. He left behind many of his papers, which he only received from a colleague ten years later. He published these papers later as the Opus geometricum quadraturae circuli et sectionum coni, decem libris comprehensum (Antwerp, 1647, 1250 pages).

He moved to the Jesuit College in Ghent where he taught from 1632 for the rest of his life. As the controversy over the quadrature of the circle in the Opus subsided, he took up another classical problem, the duplication of the cube. He suffered a second heart attack in 1659 and died from a third in 1667.

His work was completed by A.A. Sarosa. His last pupil, Joachim van Paepenbroek, supervised the publication of his Opus ad mesolabum. Gregorius launched the concept exhaustion, discovered the expansion of log(1 + x) in ascending powers of x, and integrated x-1 in a geometric form that is easily recognized as the logarithmic function.

Clavius recognized his unique talents, and Leibniz considered him the equal of Descartes.

   Jan-Karel della Faille (also Juan Carlos, Jean-Charles, Johannes Carolus, de la Faille, Antwerp 1597- Barcelona 1652)

He was born to a wealthy Antwerp merchant family, attended the Jesuit school in Antwerp, and joined the Jesuit Order. He advanced his mathematical skills with two famous teachers and fellow-Jesuits, Franciscus Aguilonius and Gregorius a Sancto Vincentio, took a theology degree at Dole (Burgundy), teaching mathematics there, at Louvain, Malines and Lier. In 1629 he was appointed to lecture at Philip IV's recently founded Collegium Imperiale in Madrid. His activities in Spain were not limited to theory and teaching but from 1637 he served the court as a cosmographer and a specialist in warfare constructions. He kept up a regular correspondence with his fellow-cosmographer at the Spanish court in Brussels, Michael Florentius van Langren. He advised Philip IV on questions of defence and of military engineering during this period. He also taught mathematics and military engineering in Madrid. Later he helped Philip IV as adviser on fortifications along the  Portuguese border, and, still working for Philip IV, made military expeditions to Naples, Sicily and Catalonia.

In 1625 he wrote Theses mechanicae. He is famed, however, for a work Theoremata de centro gravitatis partium circuli et ellipsis (1632) in which he was the first to determine the centre of gravity of the sector of a circle. 

In 1629 he was portrayed by Anthony van Dijck, still working at Antwerp at that moment, probably as a commission by Della Faille's family. (more from St. Andrews, Scotland) (more from Euroweb)

   Michael Florent van Langren (also Florentius, Langrenus, Langrenius, Amsterdam 1598 - Brussels 1675)

He lived in Antwerp during his youth. He tried to develop a method for situating oneself on earth by measuring the time at which mountains on the moon lighted up. Therefore he needed a good map of the moon, and started describing the moon in detail. This science is called "Selenographia Langreniana". In 1645 he published his Plenilunii lumina Austriaca Philippica, (with a reference to his sponsor Philip), with proposed names for "seas" and mountains on the moon. Many names are still in use. (more from Leiden University)

   Jan Palfijn (also Jean, John, Palfyn, Kortrijk 1650 - Ghent 1730)

He publishes his "Nauwkeurige verhandeling van de voornaemste handwerken der heelkonst, zoo in de harde, als sagte deelen van 's menschen lichaem" [Exact treatise about the most important surgical techniques, as well in the hard as in the weak parts of human body] (Leiden 1710) and his famous "Anatomy of the human body" (1718) especially intended for the surgeons. This book was still used in Japan at the end of the 19th century. Around 1720 he constructed a forceps ("Hand of Palfyn"), which he submitted to the Paris Academy about 1723. After various improvements the forceps passed into general practice.

   Jan Pieter Minckelers (Maastricht 1748 - 1824)

Born at Maastricht, at that moment still a part of the Southern Netherlands.

Physicist and pharmacologist. Studied physics at Louvain, where he became professor in 1771. After the invention of the air-balloon (1783) a local Lord (Louis Engelbert van Arenberg, 1750-1820) asked him to look after a cheaper gas to replace warm air or hydrogen. So he discovered coal gas (a mixture of mostly methane and hydrogen, produced by slighty warming up coal). In 1783, he illuminated his auditorium with this gas.

Due to a conflict between the Austrian ruler Joseph II and the University he gave up his professorate, and returned to Maastricht, starting a pharmacy. He studied the skeletons of a local dinosaurus, the mosasaurus.

(from the Grote Winkler Prins Encyclopedie)

Modern scientists

   Joseph Plateau (Brussels 1801 - Ghent 1883)

He became Professor of Physics at Ghent University. He is the inventor of the stroboscope, a device that employs bright pulses of light to illuminate a vibrating or rotating object and to make it appear motionless or moving very slowly. The stroboscope works by permitting the eye only a brief glimpse of the object or a portion of it at time intervals that correspond to the object's rate of vibration or rotation. The rate of movement and the light pulses can be adjusted. The use of stroboscopic photographs to produce the illusion of motion also led to the development of motion pictures.

He is best remembered in mathematics for the Plateau Problems. He wrote some mathematical work on number theory and wrote a joint article with Quetelet.

He used a solution of soapy water and glycerine and dipped wire contours into it, noting that the surfaces formed were minimal surfaces.

He was blind for the last years of his life after he experimented by staring at the sun for 25 seconds.

   Leo Hendrik Baekeland (Ghent 1863 - New York 1944)

Leo Baekeland was educated at the University of Ghent and at the Charlottenburg Technische Hochschule (Germany).

As a young chemist, he discovered the "bakelite" in Ghent, but it was disregarded by his professors. In 1889 he emigrated to the United States and set up his own laboratory in New York. Within four years he had invented a photographic paper, Volex, which could be developed in artificial light. In 1899 he sold the invention to Kodak for $1m.

His next invention was Bakelite. Made from formaldehyde and phenol, Bakelite was the first totally synthetic plastic. In 1909 Baekeland founded the General Bakelite Corporation and his plastic was used for manufacturing the first generation of telephones. The company later became part of the Union Carbide and Carbon Company. (more)

Charles van de Poele (in USA "Van Depoele", Lichtervelde 1846 - USA 1892)

He emigrated to the United States in 1869, and eventually became a successful manufacturer of church furniture. This provided him with the money to pursue his interest in electricity. He demonstrated the practicability of electrical traction in 1874. He developed an electric generator in 1880 and three years later took out a patent for an electric railway (1883), and later for a carbon commutator brush (1888). In 1888 he sold his electric-railway patents to Thomson-Houston Electric Company of Lynn, Massachusetts, which soon thereafter was absorbed into the General Electric Company (GEC). Other patents included an alternating-current electric reciprocating engine (1889), a telpher system for a car suspended from cables (1890), a coal-mining machine (1891) and a gearless electric locomotive (1894).

   Louis Zimmer, world-famous clockmaker (Lier 1888 -  1970)

Louis Zimmer, one of the best and most innovative clockmakers in the world, was born in Lier, Belgium on 8 September 1888. He was clockmaker to the King of the Belgians and constructed two world-famous masterpieces: the Centenary Clock and the Astronomic Studio, which took him 5 years to construct. He gave the Centenary Clock to his native town of Lier on the hundredth anniversary of Belgium's independence (1830-1930). The Astronomic Studio was opened in 1932. It was shown at the world-expo in New York 1939

Zimmer's "Wonderklok" ranks among the world's most famous astronomic clockworks on account of its originality and ingenuity.

   Corneel Heymans (Gent 1892 - 1968)

His father was J. F. Heymans, formerly Professor of Pharmacology and Rector of the University of Ghent, who founded the J. F. Heymans Institute of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the same University.

Corneel's  secondary school education included the Ghent Jesuit College. He had his medical education at the University of Ghent. After that he worked at Paris, Lausanne, Vienna  and London. In 1930 he succeeded his father as Professor of Pharmacology.

The scientific investigations were directed towards the physiology of respiration, blood circulation, metabolism, and numerous pharmacological problems. These studies led to the discovery of the chemoreceptors. The discovery of the role of the cardio-aortic and the carotid sinus areas in the regulation of respiration earned him the Nobel Prize in 1938. (From Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1922-1941).

   Robert Cailliau (b. Tongeren 1947)

He lived in Antwerp and studied in Ghent and Michigan (USA), and became engineer and Master of Science. He works at CERN, the European Nuclear Research Centre at Genève, and in 1989 he and Tim Berners-Lee conceived the World Wide Web on the Internet, and the concept of URL, developed HTML  (Hypertext Transfer Markup Language as a very simple solution for transfer of texts and images) and the first browser (on Mac).  (Cailliau's Website)

History - Mystics & Writers - Painters - Sculptors & Arcitects - Musicians - Scientists - Links

Comments and suggestions

Posted on 11 July 2002, on the 700th anniversary of the Batlle of the Golden Spurs, the symbolic Independence Day of Flanders. Rev. 21 July 2002.