Famous Belgian Scientists

Find out more about the greatest Belgian Scientists, including Georges Lemaître, Ilya Prigogine, Jan Baptist van Helmont, Elio Di Rupo and François Englert.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Belgian Scientists

 1 
Georges Lemaître
(Scientist & Priest)

Georges Lemaître
9
Birthdate: July 17, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Charleroi, Belgium
Died: June 20, 1966

Georges Lemaître was a mathematician, astronomer, and professor of physics. Lemaître was the first person to theorize that the expansion of the universe can be used to explain the recession of nearby galaxies. In 1927, Lemaître published the first estimation of the Hubble constant. He also came up with the Big Bang theory to explain the origin of the universe.

 2 
Joseph Plateau
(Mathematician, Physicist, Scientist)

Joseph Plateau
4
Birthdate: October 14, 1801
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: September 15, 1883

 3 
Leo Baekeland
(Chemist & Inventor)

Leo Baekeland
3
Birthdate: November 14, 1863
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium
Died: February 23, 1944

Industrial chemist Leo Baekeland is remembered as The Father of the Plastics Industry for creating Bakelite, the first synthetic plastic of the world, thus marking the beginning of the Polymer Age. His many inventions include Velox, a special photographic paper, the rights of which he sold to George Eastman.

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 4 
Moncef Slaoui
(Who served as the Head of Operation Warp Speed)

Moncef Slaoui
0
Birthdate: July 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Agadir, Morocco
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 5 

Ilya Prigogine
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1917
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: May 28, 2003

Ilya Prigogine was a physical chemist remembered for his work on irreversibility, complex systems, and dissipative structures. A respected member of several scientific organizations, Prigogine was honored with the Francqui Prize in 1955. In 1976, he won the Rumford Medal for his work concerning irreversible thermodynamics. His work on irreversible thermodynamics earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977.

 6 
Ernest Solvay
(Chemist)

Ernest Solvay
2
Birthdate: April 16, 1838
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rebecq, Belgium
Died: May 26, 1922
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 7 
Jan Baptista van Helmont
(Belgian scientist)

Jan Baptista van Helmont
3
Birthdate: January 12, 1580
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: December 30, 1644
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 8 
Simon Stevin
(mathematician, engineer, military personnel)

Simon Stevin
3
Birthdate: 1548 AD
Birthplace: Bruges
Died: January 31, 1620

Simon Stevin was a Flemish physicist, mathematician, and military engineer. He is best remembered for his contributions to various fields of science and engineering. Simon Stevin is also credited with several discoveries and inventions. He pioneered the practical application of surveying and hydraulic engineering. 

 9 
Peter Piot
(Microbiologist)

Peter Piot
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leuven, Belgium

 10 
Jacques Tits
(Mathematician, University teacher, Professor)

Jacques Tits
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Uccle

 11 
Adolphe Quetelet
(Belgian astronomer)

Adolphe Quetelet
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1796
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ghent
Died: February 17, 1874

 12 
Pierre Deligne
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Pierre Deligne
3
Birthdate: October 3, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Etterbeek

 13 
Ferdinand Verbiest
(Missionary)

Ferdinand Verbiest
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1623
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pittem, Belgium
Died: January 28, 1688

 14 
Ingrid Daubechies
(Mathematician, Physicist best known for her work with wavelets in image compression.)

Ingrid Daubechies
3
Birthdate: August 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium

Belgian-born physicist Ingrid Daubechies was a prodigy of sorts and had started dealing with complicated mathematical concepts before turning 6. She grew up to work at the AT&T Bell Laboratories and also taught at Princeton. She is best known for her research on wavelets and image-compression technology.

 15 
François Englert
(Physicist, University teacher, Theoretical physicist)

François Englert
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Etterbeek

 16 
Jean Bourgain
(Mathematician)

Jean Bourgain
2
Birthdate: February 28, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ostend, Belgium
Died: December 22, 2018

 17 
Christian de Duve
(Biochemist, Cytologist)

Christian de Duve
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Thames Ditton, England
Died: May 4, 2013

Christian de Duve was an English-born Belgian cytologist and biochemist. For his discoveries of two cell organelles, peroxisome and lysosome, he shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Albert Claude and George E. Palade. He was the founder of the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology in Brussels, which was later renamed in his honor. 

 18 

Pierre-Joseph Redouté
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1759
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Hubert, Belgium
Died: June 19, 1840

Belgian-born French painter and botanist Pierre-Joseph Redouté, also known as the Raphael of flowers, was a famous court painter and one of the greatest botanical illustrators of his time. Known for his iconic pieces such as Les Liliacées, he was a specialist of painting roses, too.

 19 
Paul Otlet
(Writer, Lawyer, Librarian, Scientist, Inventor, Bibliographer)

Paul Otlet
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: December 10, 1944

Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq
2
Birthdate: 1522 AD
Birthplace: Comines, France
Died: October 28, 1592

 21 
Albert Claude
(Cell Biologist)

Albert Claude
2
Birthdate: August 24, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Longlier, Neufchâteau, Belgium
Died: May 22, 1983
Born to a baker father, Nobel Prize-winning cell biologist Albert Claude had lost his mother to cancer as a child. He had served the British Intelligence Service during World War I. He used the electron microscope in biology for the first time and also discovered several components of the cell.

 22 
Jules Bordet
(Microbiologist and Immunologist)

Jules Bordet
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Soignies
Died: April 6, 1961

 23 
Carolus Clusius
(Botanist)

Carolus Clusius
1
Birthdate: February 1, 1526
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Arras, France
Died: April 4, 1609

 24 
Yves Chauvin
(French chemist)

Yves Chauvin
1
Birthdate: October 10, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Menen
Died: January 27, 2015

Known for his independent work on olefin metathesis, in which catalysts create and break double carbon bonds of organic molecules, Yves Chauvin played a significant role in the advancement of the green chemistry and helped to develop many new products like advanced plastics, fuel additives, and pharmaceuticals. For this role, he was co-awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

 25 
Robert Brout
(Former theoretical physicist who made significant contributions in elementary particle physics)

Robert Brout
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: May 3, 2011

 26 
Qian Xiuling
(Scientist)

Qian Xiuling
1
Birthdate: 1912 AD
Birthplace: Yixing, Jiangsu, China
Died: 2008 AD

 27 
Dirk Frimout
(Astrophysicist)

Dirk Frimout
1
Birthdate: March 21, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Poperinge, Belgium

 28 
Pattie Maes
(Professor)

Pattie Maes
2
Birthdate: 1961 AD
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium

 29 
Rembert Dodoens
(Physician)

Rembert Dodoens
1
Birthdate: June 29, 1517
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mechelen, Belgium
Died: March 10, 1585

 30 

Edouard van Beneden
1
Birthdate: March 5, 1846
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leuven, Belgium
Died: April 28, 1910

 31 

Pierre-Joseph van Beneden
1
Birthdate: December 19, 1809
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mechelen, Belgium
Died: January 8, 1894

Jean Baptiste Julien d'Omalius d'Halloy
0
Birthdate: February 16, 1783
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Liège, Belgium
Died: January 15, 1875

 33 
Pol Swings
(Astronomer)

Pol Swings
0
Birthdate: September 24, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ransart, Belgium, Charleroi, Belgium
Died: October 28, 1983

 34 

Julius Nieuwland
1
Birthdate: February 14, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nevele, Belgium
Died: June 11, 1936