Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist and inventor, died July 8, 1695, at the age of 66.  Huygens had the misfortune to occupy the same century as Isaac Newton; otherwise, he would probably be acclaimed as the greatest mathematical physicist of his era. He discovered...

Peter Apian

Peter Apian, a German mathematician and printer, was born Apr. 16, 1495.   After publishing in 1524 a book on cosmography (a Renaissance genre that combined geography and astronomy), Apian moved to Ingolstadt and set up his own printing press, and in 1532 he began to...

Georg Peurbach

Georg Peurbach, a German astronomer, died Apr. 8, 1461, at age 37. In the medieval university, two texts were used to teach astronomy: The Sphere by Sacrobosco, a basic introduction to the celestial and terrestrial spheres and their circles, and the Theory of the...

Percival Lowell

Percival Lowell, an American diplomat and self-taught astronomer, was born Mar. 13, 1855. After spending a decade in Japan and the Far East, Lowell returned to the United States to find that an Italian astronomer had detected “canali” on Mars. Even though...

Camille Flammarion

Camille Flammarion, a French astronomer, was born Feb. 26, 1842. Flammarion published his first book in 1862, La pluralité des mondes habités (The Plurality of Inhabited Worlds), at the ripe age of 20, and he went on to become the mostly widely-read author of popular...