◀ ▲ ▶History / 17th-century / Person: &amp;#x27;sGravesande, Willem Jacob
Person: &amp;#x27;sGravesande, Willem Jacob
Willem 'sGravesande was a Dutch mathematician who expounded Newton's philosophy in Europe.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- In this essay 'sGravesande discussed one of the major problems of the day, namely that of vis viva, or living force, which is a 17th century concept of energy.
- Samuel Clarke attacked the ideas that 'sGravesande presented in this essay, but 'sGravesande was able to reply with a robust defence of his ideas.
- In 1717 'sGravesande became professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University of Leiden.
- From the outset of his teaching in both physics and astronomy 'sGravesande modelled his lectures on the example of Newton in the 'Principia' and 'Opticks', although in later years they incorporated other influences, especially that of Boerhaave.
- 'sGravesande taught and wrote many texts on Newtonian science and Keill's contributions.
- This work of Newton was published by 'sGravesande in 1732 and four years later Voltaire, another strong supporter of Newton on the Continent, travelled to Leiden to have 'sGravesande approve his own work on Newton Elémens de la philosophie de Newton Ⓣ(Elements of Newton's philosophy).
- Voltaire wrote after his visit of both the kindness and the scholarship shown by 'sGravesande.
- The book went through many editions and 'sGravesande put much effort into the continual updating of the work.
- A rather strange episode occurred in 1721 when 'sGravesande visited Kassel to examine a machine invented by Orffyreus which purported to be capable of perpetual motion.
- 'sGravesande could find no evidence that deception was involved, and also seems to have believed that such a device would not contravene the laws of physics.
Born 26 September 1688, 'sHertogenbosch, Netherlands. Died 28 February 1742, Leiden, Netherlands.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Netherlands
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive