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Christiaan Huygens was a prominent Dutch mechanic, inventor, mathematician, and astronomer. In the history of science, Huygens was very important, since he was one of those who transformed the “old” science into a “new” one. Huygens is remembered especially for his wave theory of light and the invention of the pendulum clock.
See the fact file below for more information on the Christiaan Huygens or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Christiaan Huygens worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Christiaan Huygens was born in the Netherlands on April 4, 1629. When he was 8 years old, he knew arithmetic and Latin.
- He studied geography and astronomy when he was just 10 years old.
- The boy had an excellent memory and interest in science. He learned several foreign languages including French and Italian. He also took dance lessons and horse riding lessons.
- His family was wealthy and prominent. Until he was 16, Christiaan was home-schooled and received a liberal education
- At the age of 16, Huygens entered the University of Leiden, where he studied mathematics and law from 1645-1647. After graduation, he decided to devote his life to science.
DISCOVERIES AND INVENTIONS
- The first glory came to a young Christiaan after the discovery of the rings of Saturn and the satellite of the planet, Titan.
- According to historical data, the great Galileo also saw them. Lagrange mentioned that Huygens was able to develop upon the most important discoveries of Galileo.
- In 1654, he developed a new way to make lenses and used his improved lenses to make a telescope that was a lot better than the telescopes commonly in use at the time.
- Using his new and improved telescope, he was able to accurately view the rings of Saturn for the first time, and he even discovered that Saturn had a moon, which was also something no one had been able to see before.
- He owns the original improvement of the telescope used by him in astronomical observations.
- Christiaan invented the Eyepiece of Huygens, consisting of two flat-convex lenses that are still used today.
- He is also the inventor of the diascopic projector.
- He investigated the use of lenses in projectors and is credited as the inventor of the magic lantern.
- In 1656, he produced the first pendulum clock, which was able to measure time much more accurately than other devices.
- After the invention of his watch, Huygens developed upon them for more than 40 years, refining them and studying the laws of motion of the pendulum.
- Based on these studies, he wrote a work that was modestly called “Pendulum Clock.”
- Galileo proved that the Earth is shaped like a ball. However, this is not an entirely accurate characteristic. Huygens, on the basis of the laws of motion discovered by him, proved that our planet is somewhat flattened from the sides. Subsequently, these theoretical calculations were fully confirmed.
- He invented the clock spiral, replacing the pendulum, which is essential for navigation.
- The first spiral watches were designed in Paris in 1674. In 1675, he patented a pocket watch.
- The invention of the clock spiral, replacing the pendulum, was extremely important for navigation.
- Huygens is also remembered for his contributions to optics, especially for his wave theory of light.
- These theories were first communicated in 1678 to the Paris Academy of Sciences and were published in 1690.
- Huygens tried to determine the distance from the Earth to the stars. For this, he compared their brightness with the brightness of the Sun, the distance to which was known at that time with sufficient accuracy.
- These attempts were not particularly successful: for example, the distance to Sirius, determined by Huygens, turned out to be about twenty times smaller than the true one.
DEATH AND LEGACY
- When working on the Treatise on Light, Huygens came very close to discovering the law of gravity.
- He presented his reasoning in the appendix “On the causes of severity”. The last treatise of Christian Huygens, “Kosmoteoris”, was published posthumously, in 1698.
- This same tract was translated into Russian in 1717 by a decree of Peter I.
- Christian Huygens was always weak in health.
- He was plagued with severe illness, with frequent complications and painful relapses in his last years of life.
- He suffered because of feelings of loneliness and melancholy. Christiaan Huygens died on July 8, 1695.
- Many works of Huygens have a big historical value.
- His theory of rotating bodies and a huge contribution to the theory of light are of scientific importance to this day.
- These theories have become the most brilliant and unusual contributions to the science of modern times.
- For his life’s work and contributions to many fields of science, Huygen’s has been honored in a variety of ways.
- The Huygens Laboratory and the Christiaan Huygens College, a high School located in Netherlands, are named in his honor.
- In honor of Huygens were named:
- The brighter interior of the Orion Nebula
- The Huygens probe: The lander for the Saturnian moon Titan, part of the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn
- Asteroid 2801 Huygens
- A crater on Mars
- Mons Huygens, a mountain on the Moon
- Huygens Software, a microscope image processing package.
- Achromatic eyepiece design named after him
Christiaan Huygens Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Christiaan Huygens across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Christiaan Huygens worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Christiaan Huygens who was a prominent Dutch mechanic, inventor, mathematician, and astronomer. In the history of science, Huygens was very important, since he was one of those who transformed the “old” science into a “new” one. Huygens is remembered especially for his wave theory of light and the invention of the pendulum clock.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Christiaan Huygens Facts
- Who was Huygens?
- The rings of Saturn
- Myth and Facts
- Evolution of the clock
- Invention timeline
- Your dream watch
- Writing essay
- Huygens Legacy
- Ask Christiaan Huygens
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Use With Any Curriculum
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