Mathematician:Willebrord van Royen Snell
Dutch applied mathematician and astronomer who founded the modern science of geodesy, by pioneering the technique of triangulation.
Developed an improved method for determining the value of $\pi$ (pi) using polygons.
Discovered the Sine Law.
Known today for rediscovering the Snell-Descartes Law in 1621, governing the refraction of light. He did not publish himself. It first appeared in 1703 when it was published in Christiaan Huygens' Dioptrica.
Note: Several source works (notably the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica) give his birth year as 1591. It is apparent that this is an error.
- Born: 13 June 1580, Leiden, South Holland, Union of Utrecht (what is now known in English as the Netherlands).
- From 1600: Travelled to various European countries, mostly discussing astronomy.
- 1602: Went to Paris to continue studies
- 1604: Visited Switzerland with his father
- 1607: Received degree from Leiden
- 1613: Succeeded his father as professor of mathematics in the university of Leiden
- 1615: Planned and executed a new method of finding the dimensions of the earth, by triangulation
- Died: 30 Oct 1626, Leiden
Results named for Willebrord van Royen Snell can be found here.
- 1617: Eratosthenes Batavus (the Dutch Eratosthenes)
- 1618: Coeli et siderum in eo errantium observationes Hassiacae by William IV of Hesse (edited)
- 1621: Cyclometria sive de circuli dimensione
- 1624: Tiphys Batavus
- 1627: Doctrina triangulorum (posthumous)
Also known as
Willebrord van Royen Snell can also be rendered Willebrord Snel van Royen.
He is also known by his Latinized name Willebrord Snellius.
- John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson: "Willebrord van Royen Snell": MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
- 1972: George F. Simmons: Differential Equations ... (previous) ... (next): $1$: The Nature of Differential Equations: $\S 6$: The Brachistochrone. Fermat and the Bernoullis: Footnote
- 1998: David Nelson: The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics (2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry: Snell, Willebrord van Royen (1591-1626)
- 2008: David Nelson: The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics (4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry: Snell, Willebrord van Royen (1591-1626)