Willebrord Snell Biography
(Astronomer & Mathematician)
Birthday: June 13, 1580 (Gemini)
Born In: Leiden, Dutch Republic
Willebrord Snel van Royen, also referred to as Willebrordus Snellius in most of his publications, was a 17thcentury Dutch astronomer and mathematician. Over the centuries, people recall him for one of the greatest findings in the world of science—thelaw of refraction. Until recently, it was believed that he was the proprietor of the theory; however, it was discovered that the law was actually formulated by Ibn Sahl and that Snell had only rediscovered it.Although he had originally studied law, he was a mathematical genius and made numerous contributions to the field. Snell, as he was called by the western world, brought about a major revolution when he developed a new method to calculate the mathematical function ‘Pi’, which led to tremendous development in the field of mathematics. Snell had published several of his works; the two most acknowledged and acclaimed are ‘Eratosthenes Batavus’ and ‘Tiphys Batavus’. At the peak of his career, he travelled all through Europe making more discoveries and working on several findings, especially in the field of astronomy. It was at this time that he collaborated with the best in the astronomical world, such as Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe.