Willebrord Snell Net Worth

Willebrord Snell was a 17th century Dutch astronomer and mathematician who is best known for rediscovering the law of refraction. He was originally trained in law, but was a mathematical genius and made numerous contributions to the field, including a new method to calculate the mathematical function 'Pi'. He published several works, including 'Eratosthenes Batavus' and 'Tiphys Batavus', and travelled throughout Europe making more discoveries and collaborating with the best in the astronomical world, such as Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe.
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Age, Biography and Wiki

Who is it? Astronomer & Mathematician
Birth Day June 13, 1580
Birth Place Leiden, Dutch Republic, Dutch
Died On 30 October 1626(1626-10-30) (aged 46)\nLeiden, Dutch Republic
Birth Sign Cancer
Alma mater University of Leiden
Known for Snell's law
Fields Astronomer and mathematician
Institutions University of Leiden
Academic advisors Ludolph van Ceulen Rudolph Snellius
Notable students Jacobus Golius

💰 Net worth: $100K - $1M

Some Willebrord Snell images



By necessity Snellius's high points were nearly all church spires. There were hardly any other tall buildings at that time in the west of the Netherlands. More or less ordered from north to south and/or in successive order of measuring, Snellius used a network of fourteen measure points: Alkmaar : St. Laurenskerk; Haarlem : Sint-Bavokerk; Leiden : a then new part (built in 1599) of the City walls; The Hague : Sint-Jacobskerk; Amsterdam : Oude Kerk; Utrecht : Cathedral of Utrecht; Zaltbommel : Sint-Maartenskerk; Gouda : Sint Janskerk; Oudewater : Sint-Michaelskerk; Rotterdam : Sint-Laurenskerk; Dordrecht : Grote Kerk; Willemstad : Koepelkerk; Bergen-op-Zoom : Gertrudiskerk; Breda : Grote Kerk


Willebrord Snellius was born in Leiden, Netherlands. In 1613 he succeeded his Father, Rudolph Snel van Royen (1546–1613) as professor of mathematics at the University of Leiden.


In 1615 Snellius, after the work of Eratosthenes in Ptolemaic Egypt in the 3rd century BC, probably was the first to try to do a large-scale experiment to measure the circumference of the earth using triangulation. He was helped in his measurements by two of his students, the Austrian barons Erasmus and Casparus Sterrenberg. In several cities he also received support of friends among the city Leaders (regenten). In his work The terrae Ambitus vera quantitate (1617) under the author's name ("The Dutch Eratosthenes") Snellius describes the methods he used. He came up with an estimate of 28,500 Rhineland rods – in modern units 107.37 km for one degree of latitude. 360 times 107.37 then gives a circumference of the Earth of 38,653 km. The actual circumference is 40,075 kilometers, so Snellius underestimated the circumference of the earth by 3.5%.


In addition to the Eratosthenes Batavus, he published Cyclometricus, de circuli dimensione (1621), and Tiphys Batavus (1624). He also edited Coeli et siderum in eo errantium observationes Hassiacae (1618), containing the astronomical observations of Landgrave william IV of Hesse. A work on trigonometry (Doctrina triangulorum) authored by Snellius was published a year after his death.


Snellius died at Leiden on October 1626, at the age of 46 from an illness diagnosed as colic. His grave can be seen in the Pieterskerk, Leiden, which has since been deconsecrated.


Snellius came to his result by calculating the distances between a number of high points in the plain west and southwest of the Netherlands using triangulation. In order to carry out these measurements accurately Snellius had a large quadrant built, with which he could accurately measure angles in tenths of degrees. This quadrant can still be seen in the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden. In a network of fourteen cities a total of 53 triangulation measurements were made. In his calculations Snellius made use of a solution for what is now called the Snellius–Pothenot Problem.


Snellius was also a distinguished Mathematician, producing a new method for calculating π—the first such improvement since ancient times. He rediscovered the law of refraction in 1621.