Frasi di Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens foto
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Christiaan Huygens

Data di nascita: 14. Aprile 1629
Data di morte: 8. Luglio 1695


Christiaan Huygens /ˈkrɪs.tjaːn ˈhœʏ̯ɣəns/ è stato un matematico, astronomo e fisico olandese, fra i protagonisti della rivoluzione scientifica.

Frasi Christiaan Huygens

„... the power of this line [the cycloid] to measure time.“

— Christiaan Huygens
Horologium Oscillatorium (1673) as quoted by Joella G. Yoder, "Christiaan Huygens, Book on the Pendulum Clock" in Landmark Writings in Western Mathematics 1640-1940 ed., Ivor Grattan-Guinness (2005)


„I do not mind at all that [Newton] is not a Cartesian provided he does not offer us suppositions like that of attraction.“

— Christiaan Huygens
Letter to Fatio de Duillier (11 July 1687), quoted in René Dugas, Mechanics in the seventeenth century (1958), p. 440

„I esteem his [Newton's] understanding and subtlety highly, but I consider that they have been put to ill use in the greater part of this work, where the author studies things of little use or when he builds on the improbable principle of attraction.“

— Christiaan Huygens
(1692) writing five years after the appearance of Newton's Principia, as quoted in A. R. Manwell, Mathematics Before Newton (Oxford University Press, 1959), p. 56 – «He [Huygens] said, indeed, that the idea of universal attraction [gravitation] 'appears to me absurd'.»

„I believe that we do not know anything for certain, but everything probably.“

— Christiaan Huygens
Letter to Pierre Perrault, 'Sur la préface de M. Perrault de son traité de l'Origine des fontaines' (1673), [ Oeuvres Complètes de Christiaan Huygens] (1897), Vol. 7, 298. Quoted in Jacques Roger, The Life Sciences in Eighteenth-Century French Thought, ed. Keith R. Benson and trans. Robert Ellrich (1997), 163


„What a wonderful and amazing Scheme have we here of the magnificent Vastness of the Universe! So many Suns, so many Earths, and every one of them stock’d with so many Herbs, Trees and Animals, and adorn’d with so many Seas and Mountains! And how must our wonder and admiration be encreased when we consider the prodigious distance and multitude of the Stars?“

— Christiaan Huygens
Quam mirabilis igitur, quamque stupenda mundi amplitudo, & magnificentia jam mente concipienda est. Tot Soles, tot Terrae atque harum unaquaeque tot herbis, arboribus, animalibus, tot maribus, montibusque exornata. Et erit etiam unde augeatur admiratio, si quis ea quae de fixarum Stellarum distantia, & multitudine hisce addimus, pependerit. [ Book 2], pp. 150-151

„The world is my country, to promote science is my religion.“

— Christiaan Huygens
The earliest found citation is in K.O. Meinsma, Spinoza en zijn kring. Historisch-kritische studiën over Hollandsche vrijgeesten (Martinus Nijhoff, 's-Gravenhage, 1896). This influential study was translated in French and German, but not in English. In the original Dutch context it seems as though this is not a quote from Huygens, but a characterisation by the author (Meinsma) of what 'could haven been' Huygens' devise. In Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (Episode 6) from 1980 it is phrased The world is my country, science my religion. Also in The Making of Modern Europe, 1648-1780 (1985) by Geoffrey Treasure, p. 474, it is declared that this was Huygens' "motto" — but this seems very similar to the much more famous and long attested declaration of Thomas Paine in Rights of Man (1791): "My country is the world, and my religion is to do good" which has long been paraphrased "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion."

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