March 30, 2023

SHSU Houstonian Online

Read all latest news headlines from USA, UK and around the world, get today's breaking news and live updates on politics, elections, business, sports, economy,​ …

Was our most intelligent scientist Christiaan Huygens short-sighted and did he need glasses?  |  internal

Was our most intelligent scientist Christiaan Huygens short-sighted and did he need glasses? | internal

Although Holland’s most eminent scientist Christiaan Huygens pulled out high-quality lenses, his telescopes lacked sharpness. The reason may lie in the fact that Huygens actually needed glasses, says Leiden astronomer Alex Pietrow.

Huygens (1629-1695) was one of the leading scientists and inventors of the 17th century and is often mentioned in the same context as Briton Isaac Newton. The son of diplomat and writer Constantine Huygens invented, among other things, the pendulum clock and discovered that Saturn has a large ring in addition to the moon Titan. He built telescopes and is also known for his revolutionary wave theory of light.

The lenses for his instruments were made by the mathematician, physicist and astronomer Huygens himself. At that time it was of excellent quality. Huygens himself declared that he made the best lenses in the world. Ironically, his telescopes lacked the sharpness achievable at the time.

In an article published this week in the newspaper Journal of the Royal Society for the History of Science Leiden astronomer Alex Pietro comes with him a permit Above: Huygens was nearsighted, in plain English: he was nearsighted.


Huygen’s myopia was reflected in his telescope designs. In it he corrected his eye defect. Focusing by inverting the lenses as is done nowadays was not possible at the time.

In concrete terms, this meant that his telescopes were 3.5 times larger than required. This is not because the lenses themselves weren’t of great quality, but because they were combined. Causes objects in the sky to appear blurry and larger to users with normal vision.

See also  Samsung launches Neo QLED 8K TVs from 3999 euros - Image and sound - News

Huygens’ myopia was mild. Mags of -1.5 will probably be enough to see clearly again. So he had a little trouble with her in everyday life.

reasonable theory

According to Charlotte Ecke – who wrote a biography on the lives of Christian and his father Konstantin – this makes Pietro’s theory plausible. At first she was still somewhat skeptical. “Eyeglasses were already available in the 17th century, and Huygens was so lucky that they could be easily fitted,” she says. Higgins’ father Konstantin was also aware of the most advanced tools of his time. Christian would undoubtedly put on glasses if needed. ”

Drawing of Saturn, by Huygens. Find out that the planet has rings and its own moon. From the Christiaan Kijkt exhibition at the Hofwijck Museum. © Gus Schonewell

However, in the seventeenth century there were no cars, televisions, or cinemas. So Huygens wouldn’t realize he needed glasses. Huygens loved to drive fast in chariots, he and his younger brother Constantijn loved to race with them in Paris. Good visibility is of course very welcome.”


This may have been the time when Huygens discovered the need for glasses. Another fun fact, Ikki concludes. We also owe our modern automotive commentary to Huygen’s penchant for chariot racing. After all, a speeding buggy feels very uncomfortable, especially on the roads of that time. Then Huygens invented the suspension system for that.