Famous 17th Century Physicists

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 1 Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton
Famous As: Scientist, Mathematician
Birthdate: January 4, 1643
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England
Died: March 31, 1727

One of the most influential and popular scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton played a prominent role in our understanding of natural phenomena. He formulated the law of universal gravitation and laws of motion. He also developed the Newtonian telescope among other devices. Apart from science, Newton was also intrigued by religion, occult, and alchemy.

 2 Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: February 15, 1564
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: January 8, 1642

An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.

 3 Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 19, 1623
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clermont-Ferrand, France
Died: August 19, 1662

Blaise Pascal was a French physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and inventor. A child prodigy, Pascal's work on projective geometry, at the age of 16 is commendable. He is one of the earliest inventors of the mechanical calculator, which he did when he was still a teenager. His work on probability theory influenced the development of social science and modern economics.

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 4 Robert Hooke

Robert Hooke
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 28, 1635
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Freshwater, Isle of Wight
Died: March 3, 1703

Scientist Robert Hooke, also called England's Leonardo, initially gained recognition as an architect, conducting surveys following the Great Fire of London. He also taught geometry and was part of the Royal Society. He assisted Robert Boyle and eventually developed his own microscope, thus becoming the first to visualize micro-organisms.

 5 Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler
Famous As: Astronomer, Mathematician & Physicist
Birthdate: December 27, 1571
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Weil der Stadt, Germany
Died: November 15, 1630

This 17th-century German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer is remembered for his pathbreaking work on optics. He invented a developed version of the refracting telescope. He also laid down Kepler's laws of planetary motion and wrote Astronomia Nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae.

 6 Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens
Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist
Birthdate: April 14, 1629
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands
Died: July 8, 1695

From proposing the wave theory of light to discovering the actual shape of the rings of Saturn and inventing the pendulum clock, Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens had contributed a lot to science. Born to a diplomat, Huygens had the privilege of an elite education but remain sickly throughout his life.

 7 Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit
Famous As: Physicist, Inventor
Birthdate: May 24, 1686
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gdańsk
Died: September 16, 1736
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 8 Evangelista Torricelli

Evangelista Torricelli
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 15, 1608
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Faenza
Died: October 25, 1647

Evangelista Torricelli, a student of Galileo, later made a name for himself as a physicist and a mathematician with his invention of the barometer. He also laid down the Torricelli’s theorem and discovered the Torricellian vacuum. The torr, a unit of pressure, bears his name.

 9 Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle
Famous As: Founder of Modern Chemistry, Boyle's Law
Birthdate: January 25, 1627
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ireland
Died: December 30, 1691

Robert Boyle was an Anglo-Irish chemist, natural philosopher, inventor, and physicist. Regarded as the first modern chemist, Boyle is often counted among the founders of modern chemistry. One of the pioneers of the scientific method, Robert Boyle is also remembered for his books, including The Sceptical Chymist, which is viewed as a keystone book in chemistry.

 10 Otto von Guericke

Otto von Guericke
Famous As: physicist, inventor, politician, dilettante, jurist
Birthdate: November 20, 1602
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Magdeburg
Died: May 21, 1686

Otto von Guericke was a German inventor, scientist, and politician. He made several significant contributions to the development of the Scientific Revolution. He is also credited with inventing the first air pump which he used effectively to study the phenomenon of vacuum. His studies and observation helped reveal the fact that light unlike sound can travel through a vacuum.

 11 Ole Rømer

Ole Rømer
Famous As: Astronomer, Physicist, Scientist, University teacher, Judge, Patent inventor
Birthdate: September 25, 1644
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aarhus
Died: September 19, 1710

 12 Marin Mersenne

Marin Mersenne
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, Mathematician, Musicologist, Music theorist, Physicist
Birthdate: September 8, 1588
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oizé
Died: September 1, 1648

 13 Denis Papin

Denis Papin
Famous As: French physicist, mathematician
Birthdate: August 22, 1647
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Blois, France
Died: August 26, 1713

Best remembered for his ground-breaking invention of the pressure cooker, Denis Papin was also the man behind the first piston steam engine, which played a major part in ushering in the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, he died a destitute and remains buried in an unmarked grave in London.

 14 William Whiston

William Whiston
Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist, Historian, University teacher
Birthdate: December 9, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leicestershire
Died: August 22, 1752

Anglican priest and mathematician William Whiston is remembered for his efforts in popularizing the works of his mentor Isaac Newton. His A New Theory of the Earth aimed at explaining the historical and scientific validity of biblical events. He was also a supporter of Arianism and Primitive Christianity.

 15 Giovanni Alfonso Borelli

Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
Famous As: Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Historian of mathematics, Entomologist
Birthdate: January 28, 1608
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Naples
Died: December 31, 1679

While he matriculated in math and taught the subject later, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli also made pioneering discoveries as a physicist and physiologist. With works such as De Motu Animalium, he revolutionized the field of biomechanics, explaining muscular movements with the help of statics and dynamics.

 16 Stephen Hales

Stephen Hales
Famous As: Botanist, Physicist, Chemist
Birthdate: September 17, 1677
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kent
Died: January 4, 1761

Apart from being a scientist, Stephen Hales was also a clergyman. He went down in history as the first person to quantitatively measure human blood pressure and also discovered transpiration in plants. He also invented surgical and other medical devices. He devoted himself to charitable causes following his wife’s death.

 17 Guillaume Amontons

Guillaume Amontons
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: August 31, 1663
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 11, 1705

 18 Francis Hauksbee

Francis Hauksbee
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: 1660 AD
Birthplace: Colchester, England
Died: 1713 AD

Francis Hauksbee was an 18th-century English scientist. He is remembered for his work on electricity and electrostatic repulsion. He began his career as a draper and may have run his own drapery. He eventually became Isaac Newton's lab assistant and began his scientific career. With time, he gained a reputation as a talented scientific instrument-maker.

 19 Christoph Scheiner

Christoph Scheiner
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: July 25, 1573
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Holy Roman Empire
Died: June 18, 1650

Christoph Scheiner was a Jesuit priest, astronomer, and physicist. He is credited with inventing the pantograph which he demonstrated in Munich after he was invited by Duke William V of Bavaria. Several schools and streets in Germany are named after him. A lunar crater is also named in his honor.

 20 Pieter van Musschenbroek

Pieter van Musschenbroek
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: March 14, 1692
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leiden, Netherlands
Died: September 19, 1761

 21 Edme Mariotte

Edme Mariotte
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: 1620 AD
Birthplace: Dijon, France
Died: May 12, 1684

 22 George Hadley

George Hadley
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: February 12, 1685
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 28, 1768

 23 Rasmus Bartholin

Rasmus Bartholin
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: August 13, 1625
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Roskilde, Denmark
Died: November 4, 1698

 24 Firmin Abauzit

Firmin Abauzit
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: November 11, 1679
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Uzes, France
Died: March 20, 1767

 25 Niccolò Zucchi

Niccolò Zucchi
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: December 6, 1586
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Parma, Italy
Died: May 21, 1670

Italian Jesuit, astronomer, and physicist Niccolò Zucchi, who reported spots on Mars, may have been, along with fellow Jesuit Daniello Bartoli, the first who spotted belts on planet Jupiter. Zucchi showed that phosphors generate rather than store light in his book Optica philosophia experimentis et ratione a fundamentis constituta, which includes probably the earliest known elucidation of a reflecting telescope.  

 26 Jean de Hautefeuille

Jean de Hautefeuille
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: March 20, 1647
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Orléans, France
Died: October 18, 1724