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Willebrord Snell

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Madison Bosley

on 22 March 2014

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Transcript of Willebrord Snell

Law of Refraction
Died from Colic, a condition that paralyzed his arms and legs.
Died at the age of 46
Died on October 30,1626
"Mistakes are made on two counts; An argument is either based on error or incorrectly developed."
-Willebrord Snell
Background Information
Nationality: Dutch
Education: University of Leiden
Position held: Began to teach at the University of Leiden.
Born: June 13,1580 Leiden, Netherlands.
Died: October 30, 1626 Leiden, Netherlands.
Willebrord Snell

Discovered the basic law of refraction
Improved the method of calculating Pi
Wove the foundations of Geodesy (application of math to determine the size/shape of the Earth)
Snell's Law
Discovered in 1621
Law of Refraction: transparent materials have different indices of refraction depending upon their composition.
Became known 70 years after he died when a scientist published a book with his theory in it.
Family History
Father was a scholar and professor of mathematics at the University of Leiden.
Born into a small family.
Eldest of three children.
Two siblings died in their childhood.
Snell's father wanted him to study law but he followed his father's footsteps and studied mathematics.
By 1600, Snell was a full fledged mathematics professor and took over his father's position after his death.
www.encyclopedia.com, Willebrord Snell
www.history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk, Snell biography
The Physics Hyper Textbook
The Living Age by Eliakim Littell, ‎Robert S. Littell - 1884
By: Gabi Anglesey & Maddy Bosley
Work published
Published Descriptio Cometae which was his observations on comets.
Refraction and other works published in various books.
Put his research into a book called "Eratosthenes Batavus" in 1617.
Snell also published other works, including his work on comets and in 1624, he published Tiphys Batavus, a work on navigational theories.
His Beliefs
Believed in an Earth Centered System.
Believed and agreed with the works of Ramus.
Full name: Willebrord Van Royen Snell
Married Maria de Langhe
Traveled to European countries to learn more about astronomy
Received no awards
Received the degree of Master of Arts from Leiden
Originally studied law
What others said:
Vollgraff: "Willebrord Snellius ... is a striking example of the early seventeenth century man. There is in his mind no overwhelming desire to break with the past. He is thinking his own thoughts neither as an oppositionist nor as a blind admirer, but as an intelligent and critical disciple."
Bowie: "Willebrord Snell ... made a great advance over the methods used by his predecessors by introducing trigonometrical methods in the measurement of distances across country."
Where n represents the refractive
indices of material 1 and material 2 and q are the angles of light traveling through these materials with respect to the normal. There are several important points that can be drawn from this equation. When n(1) is greater than n(2), the angle of refraction is always smaller than the angle of incidence. Alternatively when n(2) is greater than n(1) the angle of refraction is always greater than the angle of incidence. When the two refractive indices are equal (n(1) = n(2)), then the light is passed through without refraction

n1 • sin(q1) = n2 • sin(q2)
"Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof."
-Willebrord Snell
Full transcript