Isaac Beeckman

Isaac Beeckman

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Isaac Beeckman

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Isaac Beeckman (10 December 1588, Middelburg – 19 May 1637, Dordrecht) was a Dutch philosopher and scientist, who, through his studies and contact with leading natural philosophers, may have "virtually given birth to modern atomism".H.H. Kubbinga, L’histoire du concept de ‘molécule’ (3 vols, Paris 2001-2002)Harold J. Cook, in The Scientific Revolution in National Context, Roy Porter, Mikuláš Teich, editors, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pages 127-129


Beeckman was born in Middelburg, Zeeland, to a strong Calvinistic family, which had fled from the Spanish-controlled Southern Netherlands a few years before. He had a strong early education in his home town and went on to study theology, literature and mathematics in Leiden. Upon his return to Middelburg he could not find a position as a minister, due to clashing ideas of his father and the local church, and decided to follow his father in the candle making business, setting up his own company in Zierikzee. While trying to improve on the candle making process, he also involved himself in other projects, like creating water conduits and doing meteorological observations. In 1616 he sold the business to his apprentice and went to study medicine in Caen, where he graduated in 1618. On his...
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